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Performance EU Like Motto of Rotterdam: Deeds, Not Words

by Oui Fri Mar 9th, 2018 at 02:51:38 AM EST

Great speech, well written but where's the beef PM Mark Rutte? Not a single word on foreign policy of the union and too few on military adventures in far away states. What was the true cause of the migration crisis of 2015? How to solve the influx of migrants by better border control and relocation camps on foreign soil? The wealth of the EU attracts economic migrants in ever increasing numbers, a root cause in climate change. So we set stiffer goals from the Paris agreement and we'll have a better future without those migrants? We'll avoid political attractiveness of far right populist political parties? Isn't the Dutch VVD with Mark Rutte a prime example of moving to the right to pick off the voters of Geert Wilders' PVV party. Geert Wilders was raised and formed within the VVD, just like the party attracting Hirsi Ali and other hardliners on immigration and putting blame on woes of the financial crisis of 2008!

The EU of the future, from the words of Mark Rute, is one of free trade and human rights. From recent history and performance by individual EU states these seem to be conflicting terms. See the arms race to supply the warring parties in the Middle East from Israel to Turkey, the Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Not once is the plight mentioned of people suffering at the hands of military conflicts. Not in Libya, Syria or in Yemen. Mark Rutte must be aware who delivers military supplies worth tens of billions Euros.

I do like one mention in his speech about the EU rebate policy. Now with Brexit and the exit of the UK as a stated fact, Margareth Thatcher`s inconsiderate rebate demands should be scrapped or at least overhauled in EU economic policy.

Nice speech, must have received a lot of applause in the auditorium, but it doesn't cut it with me for real solutions for EU's future without taking responsibility for recent mishaps. It does appear Mark Rutte fired one across the bow of the admiral's ship of the Franco-German alliance of Macron and Merkel. We'll see how the EU Summit later in March develops.

Just a small portion taken from his extended speech in Berlin.


Speech by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, at the Bertelsmann Stiftung, Berlin

Speech | 02-03-2018

NATO is still our best guarantee of peace and security. But that doesn't mean that the EU can afford to do nothing. We've taken positive steps, for example by creating a European Defence Fund and Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO. The Netherlands wants to make a major contribution. PESCO is a good example of the added value of member states working together. It's not about building a European army, but making joint purchases, harmonising military needs and facilitating military mobility. As I said earlier, it begins and ends with the member states.

Which brings me to my fifth proposal. To start with, the Netherlands wants all countries to grant permission as quickly as possible for military transport across their borders. In other words, less red tape. We also need to agree to make a number of motorways, bridges and viaducts suitable for military transport. This will shorten response times and bolster the EU's military capability. The Netherlands wants to see a mobility pledge for NATO and EU purposes. The EU, NATO and individual member states and allies should keep pushing for this.

International stability, internal security and migration are all connected. Our part of the world exerts a powerful attraction. In 2015 an extremely serious situation arose. We all remember the images. Countless people, aided by smugglers, left Turkey in flimsy boats and headed for the Greek islands. Many of them drowned. Huge numbers then made their way across Europe. Makeshift facilities were set up to meet their basic needs. In 2016, as tensions ran high, we managed to strike an agreement with Turkey. There we saw the EU at its most effective. We need more of these type of agreements with third countries. And we need  to create more regional reception facilities. The EU could provide financial and political support for this.

We must  ensure that on every front, along the entire migration route, a comprehensive strategy is in place to prevent irregular migration and similar emergencies in the future. What does this mean in practice? First: prevention is better than cure. The Netherlands advocates a broad approach. We must do more to eliminate the root causes of migration - poverty, violence and climate change - so that people see a future for themselves in their own countries. Development cooperation should focus more on creating better prospects for people. European countries can also do more to promote security, stability and better border management. France has set a good example with the G5 Sahel initiative, which helps African countries to improve border management. The Netherlands is contributing.

Managing the EU's external borders remains vital. So it's important for member states, together with Frontex, to use all the tools offered by the new European Border and Coast Guard Regulation. We must show solidarity with member states like Italy and Greece that provide initial reception for refugees. And, above all, we must ensure that the EU is ready for a new crisis. The events of 2015 and 2016 showed what happens when governments are not in control.

This brings me to my sixth proposal. We should urgently agree on a new Common European Asylum System. A system in which responsibility can be shared more effectively among the member states if the influx of refugees increases sharply again. And it should include the quick return of migrants not eligible for asylum and a relocation mechanism. Frankly, I'm concerned about the latter. The relocation of refugees across Europe remains a difficult issue, because not all countries are willing to do their share. To those countries I would say: I understand your concerns, but solidarity is a two-way street. What's more, improving control of our external borders will remove one of the main arguments used by countries that don't want to help relocate refugees. Properly controlled external borders will prevent uncontrolled flows and unmanageable numbers of refugees.

Opinion: Bertelsmann makes me wonder if I, too, am populist

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Steiner's opEd suffers the same rhetorical weakness as Rutte's. Both are either unwilling or unable to articulate specific objectives of political action. Consequently, the litany of problems they describe are disjunctive.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Mar 9th, 2018 at 06:00:34 PM EST


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