Dutch and Spanish leaders share imaginative and prescient for EU – Atlantic Sentinel

Prime Ministers Mark Rutte of the Netherlands and Pedro Sánchez of Spain meet with European Council President Charles Michel in Brussels, July 20, 2020 (European Council)

Lower than a 12 months in the past, Mark Rutte and Pedro Sánchez have been at odds with the controversy over the EU’s coronavirus restoration fund. Sánchez and different leaders in southern Europe have referred to as for grants funded by bonds issued by the EU. Rutte and his allies most well-liked loans. The 2 sides finally divided the distinction.

Any further, the 2 Prime Ministers, one among center-right, the opposite of center-left, have made the widespread reason for a imaginative and prescient of a European “strategic autonomy” extra liberal than that of Emmanuel Macron.

In a joint “non-paper“The Dutch and Spanish leaders help the strategic financial system as a method to an finish – development and safety – however not an finish in itself. They warn that this can not change into an excuse for isolation and protectionism.


Rutte and Sánchez share Macron’s evaluation that Europe has change into too depending on large American applied sciences and Chinese language uncooked supplies. Their proposals embody the event of a European digital fee resolution and the monitoring, and even the ban, of overseas investments in key sectors.

However they emphasize competitiveness and openness to the world whereas Macron’s imaginative and prescient – supported by Germany – is extra inward-looking:

  • Strengthen the one market by eradicating boundaries to enterprise and labor, bettering enforcement and guaranteeing truthful and environment friendly taxation.
  • Set up worldwide digital requirements, develop widespread cybersecurity standards and deploy 5G on a European scale.
  • Commerce agreements that contribute to sustainable growth and strengthen the resilience of European provide chains.

Much less concrete ambitions embody harmonizing academic requirements, bettering entry to credit score, and investing in batteries and hydrogen.

Earlier proposals

These match proposals Rutte carried out with the leaders of Central and Northern Europe in 2019:

  • Full the one marketplace for providers.
  • Take away obstacles to labor mobility, specifically by means of the mutual recognition {of professional} {qualifications}.
  • Set international requirements for synthetic intelligence and the digital financial system.
  • Strengthen European monetary markets to permit cross-border threat sharing.
  • Transition to a inexperienced financial system.


When the European Fee blocked the merger of French and German railway producers Alstom and Siemens in 2019, Macron satisfied Angela Merkel to hitch his name to chill out EU competitors guidelines to permit state help and enormous mergers, and to forestall undesirable overseas funding.

Macron additionally pleaded for the adoption of the European choice in public procurement and the sanctioning of overseas corporations that don’t adjust to European rules on knowledge safety and the setting.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given credit score to its program. Addictions on Chinese language-made masks and British vaccines have confirmed to be unreliable. Rutte used to oppose curbing competitors from state-backed corporations and subsidizing their European opponents. No extra.

However he and Sánchez stay cautious of a swerve in protectionism.

Extra from Mr No

The unlikely alliance reminds us that Rutte, stereotyped as Europe’s frugal chief, is extra pro-European than his detractors enable.

Europhiles are inclined to label anybody who doesn’t share their view of the EU as a ‘eurosceptic’. They accuse Rutte of resisting a euro zone price range, European fiscal harmonization and Eurobonds.

However it isn’t “extra Europe” that Rutte is opposed; it’s a Europe which might change into much less aggressive and extra depending on transfers from the richest Member States to the poor.

His imaginative and prescient, now additionally Sánchez ‘, of a Europe open and certain of its place on the earth appears way more engaging.

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