Tuesday 23 July 2019

Rutte urges ‘clarity’ from May with nine months to go to Brexit

Theresa May and Mark Rutte in the Catshuis garden. Photo: Abdullah Asiran/ Anadolu/ HH

Mark Rutte has urged his British counterpart Theresa May to provide more clarity on Brexit with less than nine months to go until the UK leaves the European Union.

A day after meeting Donald Trump in Washington, the prime minister invited May for talks at the Catshuis in The Hague to discuss the progress of negotiations between Britain and the EU.

The Brexit settlement is supposed to be completed by March next year but many key issues, including the border with the Republic of Ireland and reciprocal rights for EU and UK citizens living abroad, still have to be decided.

Trade with the UK is estimated to be worth €22.7 billion a year to the Netherlands, equivalent to 3.1% of GDP, junior minister for trade Mona Keijzer said in a letter to parliament last month, making the Dutch one of Britain’s biggest European trading partners.

‘We urgently need clarity about every aspect of the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom and we’re working very hard to achieve that,’ Rutte said.

May, who is due to meet German chancellor Angela Merkel later this week, did not reveal details of her talks with Rutte, but said: ‘It is important as we look at the United Kingdom leaving the European Union that we are able to discuss between us how we can ensure that we are able to have a future relationship that reflects the close ties that we already have.’

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