Dutch PM calls for EU to look forward, deliver on promises
BERLIN (AP) — The European Union needs to deliver on its promise of prosperity, security and stability if it wants to beat back the rise of populism from both the left and the right, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Friday.
Speaking at an event in Berlin, Rutte contrasted his comments with British Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech Friday on Brexit, saying he wanted to talk about “the best way to move forward with Europe” rather than “a future without Europe.”
Rutte outlined nine proposals that included creating a single market for services as well as goods, reforming the bloc’s budget and linking the receipt of EU funds to member states’ adherence to the rule of law.
The Dutch leader also backed a common asylum policy and echoed German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s stance that governments which refuse to take in their share of migrants may pay a price.
“To those countries I would say: I understand your concerns, but solidarity is a two-way street,” he said.
Rutte said Europe’s rise from the cataclysm of World War II was based on shared values, trust and a willingness to compromise.
“All over Europe, we are seeing the rise of parties on the flanks of the political spectrum that simply deny the importance of European cooperation” he said.
“If we don’t deliver on that basic promise of the EU, people will start believing the false promises and pipe dreams of the political extremes.”
Among the other proposals, Rutte suggested ambitious new targets for cutting emissions of carbon dioxide — a major greenhouse gas — by 55 percent by 2030. The current EU target is to cut CO2 emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels.
Rutte, whose country is threatened by rising sea levels, said the lower goal wouldn’t be enough to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.7 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century.