Prime Minister De Croo’s first visit abroad will be to the Netherlands
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Prime Minister De Croo’s first visit abroad will be to the Netherlands

Credit: Belga

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo will meet his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte in The Hague on 20 October in what will be his first official trip abroad. The two heads of government agreed on this visit on Wednesday at a Benelux meeting.

Traditionally, a new Prime Minister grants his first working visit to a counterpart from a neighbouring country. This time it will therefore be the Netherlands which, with Mark Rutte, also has a liberal prime minister.

At this Benelux meeting, in which Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel also participated, the fight against the coronavirus crisis and Brexit were on the agenda.

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De Croo emphasised that good coordination between the Benelux countries makes it possible to prevent unnecessarily drastic measures in the fight against the epidemic.

“This does not change the fact that we will have to work even better together in the future. That is why we fully support the initiative of the German Presidency (of the European Union) to achieve a uniform colour code and a border protocol for the whole of Europe,” he said.

As far as Brexit is concerned, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg fully support European negotiator Michel Barnier in the search for a strong and comprehensive trade agreement.

Alexander De Croo stressed that the European Union and its internal market remain at the heart of prosperity. “This is why I have also discussed an offensive approach with my Dutch and Luxembourg colleagues. We need to deepen the internal market, in particular by investing in forward-looking sectors such as the digital and sustainable economy”.

The Benelux is also planning a broad consultation with citizens and businesses in the near future to shape its agenda.

The Brussels Times