Monday 30 November 2020

Mark Rutte congratulates Joe Biden, hopes to speak to him soon

A Dutch bike with American additions. Photo: Brandon Hartley

Dutch politicians on Saturday evening began commenting on the election of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States, with prime minister Mark Rutte issuing his congratulations on Twitter.

‘I am looking forward to continue the strong bond between our countries, and hope to speak with him about these matters soon,’ Rutte said in a short statement on the social media channel.

Trade minister Sigrid Kaag said on Twitter that the news comes ‘at long last’. Values matter, integrity matters. Leadership matters. The country can start its healing process into its future,’ Kaag said in an English-language tweet.

Socialist MP Sadet Karabulut told RTL Nieuws that ‘the Dutch cabinet will be relieved, as will be the EU. They will be rid of the inappropriate and undiplomatic Trump, who has barged his way around the established order like a bull in a china shop.’

VVD MP Sven Koopmens suggested Biden will retry to strengthen the transatlantic relationship which, he he said, ‘is unbelievably important for our security and our jobs’.

D66 MP Sjoerd Sjoerdsma told RTL he expected Biden would take the same line about Nato as Trump, and urge European countries to pay their share. ‘Trump used to chorus that Europe had to pay more, because the Americans could not pay for the safety shield by themselves,’ he said. ‘You will hear that from Biden too.’

Foreign minister Stef Blok also issued a short statement putting the transatlantic relationship centre stage.

‘Looking forward to continuing our strong bilateral ties and security partnership,’ Blok said. ‘Cooperation between Europe and the US is crucial to kick-start economic recovery and to defend democratic freedoms and human rights around the world.’

Employers

Dutch employers organisations VNO-NCW and MKB Nederland said they looked forward to working together with the new US administration.

‘The Netherlands and the US have had strong ties for 400 years,’ the organisations said in a joint statement. ‘The US is our most important trading partner outside the EU… and the US is a big investor in the Netherlands.’

‘But even with Joe Biden as president, the EU will have to be stronger in different areas such as technology, defence and migration. The geopolitical game-play between the US and China may not change much under Biden. Only a united Europe has real power in that game.’

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