Netherlands PM Mark Rutte tells Parliament Brexit is a 'terrible idea'

By On October 25, 2018

Netherlands PM Mark Rutte tells Parliament Brexit is a 'terrible idea'

OTTAWA -- Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says Canada and the Netherlands have a special role to play after Brexit, a decision he railed against in an address to Canada's parliament today.

Rutte says Britain's decision to leave the European Union is a terrible idea, adding that he imagines many Canadians feel the same.

Rutte offered his view on the ongoing Brexit negotiations during his Thursday speech to the House of Commons in which he invoked the strong bonds between the two countries forged during the Second World War.

"In Europe, we now face the great unknown of Brexit. Let me be totally honest, I still think it's a terrible idea," Rutte said in his speech, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looked on.

He said the negotiations are proving complex because "it's not so easy to unbreak the eggs that made the omele tte."

Rutte said his country needs to continue working with the United Kingdom and that it remains a key partner for the Netherlands, and for Canada.

"Together with Canada I'm sure we will succeed in building new and even stronger bridges between both sides of the Atlantic," he said, adding the was a topic of discussion during his private meeting with Trudeau in the morning.

Rutte praised the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, or CETA, saying the wide-ranging free trade deal between the EU and Canada is a progressive modern agreement made for the 21st century. He said it shows that trade does not have to be a "zero sum game."

The Dutch leader said his country and Canada helped build the international rules-based order that rose from the "ruins" of the Second World War, including NATO, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.

He said the two countries share a commitment to free and f air trade, and the ongoing effort to make global institutions more relevant to people around the world feeling the ill effects of globalization. Rutte said "geopolitical shifts" need to be addressed.

"In the past we worked to build a better world order and it's true after so many years the system we built is now showing some cracks."

Rutte didn't mention Donald Trump by name, but his remarks appeared aimed at the U.S. President who has taken a rhetorical wrecking ball to international institutions.

But Rutte said that the U.S. can't be blamed for asking other NATO countries to increase their defence spending -- a case Trump has made loudly in the past.

Trudeau was asked by a Dutch journalist if he had advice for Europeans on dealing with Trump.

"Trade deals are not zero sum games," Trudeau replied. "As we have seen with CETA, as we've seen time and time again with trade deals around t he world, it is obvious that trade deals properly done can be win-wins for all participants."

Rutte thanked Canadian soldiers for their efforts in liberating the Netherlands during the Second World War, including the more than 7,600 young men who did not survive.

"They made ultimate sacrifice and Netherlands is their final resting place."

For his part Trudeau, told Parliament that Canada and the Netherlands' story has been "tested and solidified on the battle field."

"It's brought us together in defence of shared goals and ambitions and it will propel us to a new prosperity in the decades ahead."

He said the countries share a strong sense of duty and a commitment to fairness.

Trudeau and Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan welcomed Rutte to Parliament Hill with full military honours earlier in the day at the National War Memorial.

Trudeau and Rutte also met with busi ness leader during a luncheon on Parliament Hill.

The two leaders also planned to participate in a town hall with students at Gloucester High School.

Source: Google News Netherlands | Netizen 24 Netherlands

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