Clarity urgently needed about EU-UK relationship, Dutch PM Rutte says

Mark Rutte wants more clarification on the EU and UK’s future relationship. (Reuters pic)

THE HAGUE: Clarity is quickly required on “every aspect” of the future relationship between the European Union and the UK, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday after meeting his British counterpart Theresa May.

The meeting with Rutte came as May faced growing pressure to spell out the preferred British position on trade with the bloc after it leaves the European Union, planned in less than nine months.

“We urgently need clarity about every aspect of the future relationship between the EU and the UK,” Rutte said.

May, who is due to meet German leader Angela Merkel in the next few days, did not immediately provide any comment.

The Netherlands has lobbied for favourable exit terms for the UK, its third-largest trading partner, but would support whatever deal the European Commission negotiates.

Senior British government ministers meet on Friday in the latest attempt to agree Britain’s position in the talks on UK-EU trade relations. Lawmakers are then expected to vote in the autumn on the terms of Britain’s withdrawal.

The UK is the third-largest destination for Dutch exports, worth 57.5 billion euros in 2017, while the Netherlands is the fifth-largest destination for British exports, worth an annual 38.6 billion euros.

Dutch exposure to a possible British exit from the European Union will be greater than for other members of the bloc and could trim 1.2% off the Netherlands’ economy by 2030, the government’s leading forecaster has warned.