Schoof reassures Nato: Dutch support for Ukraine “stands firm”

Dick Schoof arrives at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington for the Nato summit. Photo: AFP/Brendan Smialowski via ANP

Prime minister Dick Schoof has underlined the Netherlands’ commitment to defending Ukraine at the Nato summit in Washington, in an attempt to dispel fears about the right-wing cabinet’s stance.

In his first official trip outside Europe since taking office last week, Schoof addressed the Dutch media at the ambassador’s residence, flanked by defence secretary Ruben Brekelmans and foreign affairs minister Caspar Veldkamp, with a Ukrainian flag hanging alongside the Dutch tricolour.

“As a loyal and constructive Nato ally, we will emphasise that the support for Ukraine stands firm, for as long and as much as is necessary,” he said.

Schoof’s message was intended to reassure Nato partners about the potential influence of the far-right PVV on Dutch foreign policy.

The party’s senators voted against a financial and military support package for Ukraine in February, though the bill was passed.

PVV leader Geert Wilders is close to Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, who was criticised by EU leaders for visiting Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week and telling him: “I am at your disposal.”

The PVV’s six MEP joined the Patriots for Europe group in the European parliament last week, along with Orbán’s Fidesz party.

Security and peace

Schoof said the new cabinet supported efforts to strengthen relations between Nato and Ukraine, including appointing a representative in Kyiv. “Ukraine’s future rests in Nato,” he said.

“We stand for Nato, we stand for the EU and we stand for security and peace in our country and in Europe. There can be no misunderstanding about that,” Schoof added.

The summit marks the 75th anniversary of the military alliance and the last major meeting for secretary general Jens Stoltenberg before he hands over to former Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte on October 1.


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