This is the third time that the Governments of Germany and the Netherlands are meeting in order to drive forward common projects in key policy fields. Their consultations are focusing on four issues that are particularly important to both countries: promoting a strong and united Europe, a shared commitment to security and defence, climate, environment and energy, and digitalisation.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas received his Dutch counterpart Stefan Blok prior to the start of the consultations at the Federal Chancellery. The principal focus of their discussions was on working together to strengthen multilateralism and the EU.
Last week, Maas had hosted a meeting of the Alliance for Multilateralism in New York. In this framework, Stefan Blok presented the Paris Call for Trust in Cyberspace initiative, thereby underscoring the Netherlands’ strong commitment to greater international cooperation. The two countries intend to drive the Alliance forward with tangible results and thus defend, shape and – where necessary – reform the international order.
Maas and Blok also held close discussions on European issues today. For Germany, the rule of law is one of the most important items on the agenda. Both countries are stepping up their commitment to this issue. For example, a new peer review mechanism is intended to assess compliance with rule‑of‑law standards in the EU member states in the future. This mechanism owes its origins to an initiative spearheaded by Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Climate and environmental protection is a further important issue. Germany is committed to the ambitious implementation of the EU’s strategic agenda in this regard. With the “European Green Deal”, Frans Timmermans from the Netherlands is to assume one of the key portfolios of the future European Commission.
Government Consultations strengthen partnership in key areas
Today’s third Government Consultations between Germany and the Netherlands were the biggest to date. Both Governments adopted a Political Declaration that sets out key focuses of their common agenda. The two countries want to strengthen the EU as an international actor and consolidate the social cohesion of its citizens.
In the area of security and defence, Germany and the Netherlands want to strengthen the effectiveness of the Common Security and Defence Policy still further and cooperate closely with non‑EU third countries within the framework of Permanent Structured Cooperation.
As regards the climate, environment and energy, there will be more regional projects, for instance in the development of offshore wind projects and the development of the role of hydrogen. As far as the digital transformation is concerned, the Declaration calls, among other things, for the creation of a European Health Data Space. Both countries want to intensify their dialogue with regard to electronic health services or eHealth, health data use and artificial intelligence in healthcare.
Another objective is for people to enjoy practical benefits in border regions. Germany and the Netherlands intend to remove border barriers for citizens and companies. Moreover, youth exchanges are to be strengthened in order to allow young people from both countries to get to know each other better and to bridge language differences.