Dutch PM ‘cautiously optimistic’ about progress on Brexit talks

Mark Rutte and Angela Merkel outside the Dutch parliamentary complex. Photo: Remco Koers / Hollandse Hoogte.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said on Wednesday evening he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ that progress will be made next week on the negotiations for Britain to leave the EU.

‘I think that next week we can be very cautiously optimistic that we will make progress,’ Rutte said at a joint press conference with German chancellor Angela Merkel.  ‘An awful lot depends on the talks in the coming days.’

Many of the problems are now being solved on a step by step basis ‘but there are, of course’ several big issues which we really need to get to grips with,’ the prime minister said.

These include the future relationship between Britain and the single market, including the Irish border, Rutte said.

Merkel, who was in the Netherlands for talks with Rutte ahead of next week’s meeting, said that she is pleased intensive discussions are now taking place. ‘There would appear to be progress, but sometimes the devil is in the details,’ she said.

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