Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra will travel to Washington next Tuesday to meet US President Joe Biden. It was their first time meeting Biden at the White House. ‘There’s a lot to talk about,’ says Paul Verhagen of The Hague Center for Strategic Studies in the US.
Prime Minister Rutte was in the White House in 2019. Then he met then President Donald Trump. Rutte said at the NATO summit in Madrid last June that working with him was sometimes a bit uncomfortable. There was a good relationship, but it was ‘a bit awkward’ at times. ‘Prime Minister Rutte will have a very pleasant conversation privately at this point,’ Verhagen thinks. But the agenda didn’t get any easier. There’s a lot to talk about.’
Among other things, war in Ukraine is on the agenda. The United States and the European Union have been massively supporting the government in Kiev with weapons and money. It involves close cooperation. According to Verhagen, it is interesting to the US that the Netherlands plays a ‘very important role’ in the intelligence network in Europe. ‘Netherlands has added value there. But Americans think we Europeans should do more defense tenders for NATO and send more weapons to Ukraine.
According to Verhagen, the Americans want one thing: European leadership within Europe. Especially in the military sector. The Netherlands also has an interesting role to play in this regard, as Rutte is the most senior pro-EU EU leader. Since losing the British, the Netherlands has been the most pro-American country in the EU. We have a very important trade relationship and many investment relationships, so the Netherlands is also seen as Team America within the EU.
American financial advantages
Speaking of which, on the trade front, Biden is somewhat maintaining his predecessor’s policies. Washington last year brought in hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies for US-made green technology. It’s illegal state aid, you can ask in Europe. European countries fear that companies will move to America to take advantage of these American financial advantages.
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