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Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024
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Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte talks U.S.-Europe relations

Rutte was in the District for the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit

Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, spoke to AU students about fostering transatlantic trade and cooperation between Europe and the United States to resolve global conflicts on March 21.

The event was hosted by the School of International Service and held in the SIS Atrium.

Rutte’s visit to the University is part of his trip to Washington D.C. to attend the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit that is bringing together world leaders from more than 50 countries.

In his speech, Rutte discussed the instrumental role the Netherlands, which currently holds the European Union presidency, has played in Europe’s economic progress over the past few decades.

“Step by step, we have built a strong economic union, in which the Netherlands, as a founding member of the European Union, has always played an active role, and this has brought Europe unprecedented prosperity,” Rutte said. “For years, European countries have consistently topped the world rankings for wealth and well-being, business climate and health care. Europe is now a market of 500 million consumers with big purchasing power.”

Rutte told students that as future leaders, they need to understand the shared beliefs and goals of the U.S. and the Netherlands and the close relationship that exists between the two nations.

“This foundation should always inspire us to make the right choices for our shared future, and that’s why today’s meeting is so important, because you will be the next generation to put these values into practice,” Rutte said. “Making the right choices for our future includes fostering intensive transatlantic trade. It also means pursuing peace and security within the strong NATO alliance that the Netherlands and the United States helped to establish.”

Rutte acknowledged that more can be done to improve Europe’s economy and said that trade with North America is the best way to keep moving forward.

“There is still progress to be made in Europe, and we can do that, in my belief, by returning to the EU’s core task, which is deepening the European single markets, and we can boost our market by linking it to North America and its fast market of nearly 500 million American, Canadian and Mexican consumers,” Rutte said.

Although the U.S. and Europe may not agree on everything, it is essential to remember that it is mutually beneficial for them to work together, according to Rutte. After all, the Netherlands is currently the third largest foreign investor in the United States, and the U.S. is the biggest investor in the Netherlands, Rutte said.

“The U.S. and EU view things differently and don’t always move at the same speed,” Rutte said. “But our relationship is built on a long standing foundation of values: freedom, democracy, rule of law, and free market principles - and these values, at the end of the day, after all the quarreling, they unite Europe and America, and I consider my country to be an integral part of this deep and lasting partnership.”

Aside from trade, Rutte reminded the audience that since the Netherlands and the United States are built on such similar values, there is no reason for the two nations to not maintain strong ties in the years ahead.

“History teaches us that trade enforces peace and prosperity. But, of course trade alone isn’t enough. Our relationship needs the support of a solid foundation, so that as like-minded partners, we can continue forging a common path, and we have that foundation,” Rutte said.

It is necessary for Europe and the United States to work together when principles they stand for are violated in places like Syria and Ukraine, Rutte said. He also believes there needs to be more open communication with such nations, where people are living under violence and oppression.

“Without dialogue, there can be no progress. So sanctions need to be accompanied by an outstretched hand so that we can work together to end the violence in Syria and alleviate tensions in Ukraine,” Rutte said.

During the Q-and-A portion of the event, which was moderated by SIS professor Michelle Egan, Rutte told students not to focus too much on planning out their careers and futures. His advice for students is to do work that inspires them and find a job that is an enjoyable experience for them.

“Don’t plan too much, and follow your heart and your interest, and make sure that your job is your hobby,” Rutte said. “Never accept a job because that job will then deliver a job you wanted to do, because the job you are then holding in the meantime, you will not do very well [in], so you’ll never get the second job because people think you’re not good enough.”

rsarkar@theeagleonline.com


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