“We have much in common”

On 12 November, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle welcomed the new Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans to Berlin. The Ministers’ talks focused on current European policy issues.

Following their meeting, the two Ministers emphasized the pro‑European orientation of their policies. Westerwelle underlined that Germany and the Netherlands had much in common, especially in their policy on Europe. Timmermans stressed that Germany played a major role in Europe. “Without Germany we will not be able to solve Europe’s problems,” he said. “However, without Europe, Germany and the Netherlands won’t be able to solve their problems either.” Europe, he added, was needed more than ever. The two Foreign Ministers discussed numerous current European issues. Westerwelle made plain that the Dutch are a key partner to Germany, above all when it comes to tackling the debt crisis.

Crisis management and European finances

Overcoming the crisis required “solid, sustainable budget management, but at the same time consolidation and solidarity as well as a growth policy for more jobs”, according to Westerwelle. He went on to say that the German and the Dutch positions were also close in terms of the negotiations on the EU’s multiannual financial framework – the budget for the period from 2014 to 2020. “We both share the conviction that the objective in Europe should be better spending, not more spending. We should aim to invest the considerable financial resources available in Europe in growth, new technologies, education and science,” Westerwelle stated. It was important, the Minister added, to invest in new jobs, especially for young people.

The two Ministers also discussed many international issues in depth, above all the situation in Syria. Westerwelle and Timmermans are meeting again the following day, at the conference of the foreign ministers of the Arab League and the European Union in Cairo.

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Last updated 12.11.2012

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