Dutch PM describes breakfast meeting with Theresa May as 'useful'


Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has described his Tuesday morning breakfast talks with his British counterpart Theresa May as a 'useful dialogue' in which the two leaders 'discussed the latest Brexit developments'. May is on a whirlwind tour of European leaders to gather support for further changes to the deal paving the way for Britain to withdraw from the European Union, after deciding to postpone the key British parliamentary vote. The Netherlands was May's first port of call on the tour. She is in Germany this afternoon and then possibly Brussels. Rutte declined to comment on the talks as he arrived at the Catshuis - his official residence in The Hague, by bike for the meeting. Rutte op de fiets naar werkontbijt met May: ’Morning!’ Lol, Dutch PM Rutte arrives by bicycle at breakfast meeting with May to discuss Brexit. International press looks stunned 😂😂😂 https://t.co/JntAzkFcXh — Hans-Erik Iken (@HansErikIken) December 11, 2018 Waiting reporters were also amused by the name of the catering company supplying the breakfast. House of lords catert #Brexit #breakfast #Rutte #May op Catshuis https://t.co/jfvuGvi3UN — klaassalverda (@klaassalverda) December 11, 2018 Rutte has said repeatedly that the 27 EU member states are united in their approach to Brexit and reiterated last month, after the deal was signed by EU ministers that it is the ‘best we can get’. ‘If there are people in Britain who think they can get a better deal, then they are wrong,’ Rutte said. ‘This is the best you can get, both for Britain and the European Union. If there was anything better, I can tell you Theresa May would have gotten that.’ On Monday the national audit office said that a no-deal Brexit would cost the Dutch government €2.3bn over two years in extra EU contributions and customs services. Trade with the UK is estimated to be worth €22.7 billion a year to the Netherlands, equivalent to 3.1% of GDP. This makes the Netherlands one of Britain’s biggest European trading partners.  More >



Dutch PM to meet Theresa May on Tuesday

British prime minister Theresa May is to hold a breakfast meeting with Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte on Tuesday morning following her decision to postpone the crucial vote on plans for Britain to leave the European union. May said on Monday afternoon that she is postponing Tuesday's scheduled vote on the Brexit deal and will return to Brussels to push for concessions because there is not enough support for the agreement as it now is. 'Over the next few days she [May] will go to see her counterparts in other member states to discuss the concerns that parliament has expressed,' her office said in a statement. That round of talks with European leaders will start at Rutte's official residence, the Catshuis, Dutch media said. 'The Netherlands is one of the countries which will be hardest hit by Brexit and Rutte is one of the most important and experienced European leaders,' RTL correspondent Fons Lambie said. 'May also rang Rutte last weekend.' Earlier on Monday evening, European council president Donald Tusk said on Twitter that the EU will not renegotiate the deal. 'But we are ready to discuss how to facilitate UK ratification,' Tusk said. 'As time is running out, we will also discuss our preparedness for a no-deal scenario.' Downing Street says Prime Minister Theresa May will travel to the Netherlands tomorrow for a "bilateral meeting" with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague — Sky News Breaking (@SkyNewsBreak) December 10, 2018 Rutte has said repeatedly that the 27 EU member states are united in their approach to Brexit. Integrity ‘We all want to have a strong relationship with the United Kingdom, 65 million people and a huge market,’ he said. ‘But at the same time, we want to maintain the integrity of a single market which serves 420 million customers who are staying behind,’ he said in September. And last month, Rutte said after the deal was signed by EU ministers that it is the ‘best we can get’. ‘If there are people in Britain who think they can get a better deal, then they are wrong,’ Rutte said. ‘This is the best you can get, both for Britain and the European Union. If there was anything better, I can tell you Theresa May would have gotten that.’ Cost Earlier on Monday the national audit office said that a no-deal Brexit would cost the Dutch government €2.3bn over two years in extra EU contributions and customs services. Trade with the UK is estimated to be worth €22.7 billion a year to the Netherlands, equivalent to 3.1% of GDP. This makes the Netherlands one of Britain’s biggest European trading partners.  More >


Hard Brexit to cost government €2.3bn

If the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal, it would cost the Dutch government €2.3bn in the coming two years, according to the Dutch audit office. The main expenses would be for extra customs and food safety services (€700m) and €1.6bn in higher EU contributions, the audit office says in a new report. If the current deal on the table wins approval, little will change for the Netherlands in 2019 and 2020, the audit office said. A hard Brexit would result in €1.6bn in extra payments to the EU, to help compensate for the loss of Britain's contributions. That will go up to €2.5bn to €3bn a year from 2026.  If the deal goes through, the extra contributions would amount to €500m a year, the audit office said. The total extra payment of €2.3bn does not include the impact of import and export duties or an estimate of what a hard Brexit would mean for tax revenues. Property Meanwhile, the Financieele Dagblad reports that the number of online searches made on the Funda in Business property website by people from Britain has gone up sharply. In January 2016, the commercial property website attracted 2,600 visits from the UK, but this month the number of visits has tripled to 7,200 and the number of unique visitors has doubled, the FD said. Some 75% of the visits from the UK come from London. Most were interested in office space in Amsterdam, the website said. However, Rudolf de Boer, managing director of property advisor CBRE, told the paper that the company has only noticed a minor rise in its British client base. Most are small financial companies with up to 35 workers, he told the FD.  More >




Second Dutch candidate for commission job

Bas Eickhout, leader of the Dutch green party GroenLinks in the European parliament, has been chosen as one half of the European green's dual candidacy for the job of president of the European Commission, replacing Jean-Claude Juncker. Eickhout and German green Ska Keller will jointly take part in the informal contest to determine who should be the European parliament's candidate for the top European job. The position is known as the 'spintzenkandidat' or 'lead candidate'. Our candidates for change. Our candidates for a better future. Our candidates for a #GreenEurope 🌻@SkaKeller & @BasEickhout pic.twitter.com/MSKRdxZRb3 — European Greens (@europeangreens) November 25, 2018 Although technically, the European Council is charged with appointing the European Commission president, since 2014 the European parliament has been given more say. Now the job goes to the candidate nominated by the European political grouping which wins most seats in the next parliamentary elections. These take place in May 2019. Green parties currently control 7% of the seats in the European parliament but some insiders say this could more than double at the May elections. Frans Timmermans, currently the Netherlands’ European commissioner and vice president of the EU, is the lead candidate for the social democratic grouping (S&D) in the European parliament.  More >



Eurozone budget plans unclear: minister

Germany has not been able to dispel ‘fundamental’ Dutch doubts about the necessity for a eurozone budget, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Friday. The eurozone spending plan proposed by Germany and France is meant to help promote greater convergence and help stabilise countries against future economic shocks. Thursday’s talk with German finance minister Olaf Scholz was aimed at getting Dutch finance minister Wopke Hoekstra on board after he said earlier he did not see how the plan would benefit the Dutch people. According to Hoekstra, Scholz left many questions unanswered regarding governance, the way the mechanism will work and how much money it will require. ‘A fundamental question remains what problem the eurozone budget will solve and how it will function in relation to other financial instruments,’ the FD quotes Hoekstra as saying. The minister said he would rather the EU concentrate on the ‘crucial’ reform of the permanent emergency fund ESM, which he said is the instrument to be used for shoring up economies in trouble, and a speeding up of the banking union, the FD writes. France and Germany hope the new budget will be in place by 2021. As well as in the Netherlands, concerns remain in a number of other countries including the Nordic and Baltic states, Austria and Finland, the Financial Times reported earlier.  More >