Europe needs the Netherlands and its modernising spirit, EU commission president José Manuel Barroso told an audience including queen Beatrix and prime minister Mark Rutte at the opening of the House of Europe in The Hague on Monday evening.
Barroso said he admires the Dutch for their openness, culture and new ideas through the centuries, which enrich and strengthen the EU, reports news agency ANP.
But he warned that the European Commission will not compromise on the principle of open borders and the free movement of people, despite calls from several countries for the reintroduction of controls.
‘The right to move freely is the embodiment of the European project – one of the most tangible results of the EU endeavour; central to both our economy and identity. And so we see that free movement is to Europe what foundations are to buildings. Remove it and the whole structure is undermined,’ the commission president told his audience.
The House of Europe houses the representatives of the European commission and the information office of the European parliament in the Netherlands.
For the full speech (in English), click here
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