New Dutch PM Schoof meets EU leaders in Brussels

After being sworn in last week, Dutch Prime Minister Dick Schoof headed to Brussels on Monday to meet the presidents of the European Commission, European Council and European Parliament. A difficult task awaits him there: the four parties in his government (NSC, BBB, PVV and VVD) are seeking exceptions from Europe on various policies. 

Among other things, the Netherlands wants an opt-out on European migration policy, exceptions to fertiliser regulations and less contributions to the European budget. But all this is met with surprise in Brussels, especially since Schoof, unlike his predecessor Rutte, is completely unknown in European circles. For real negotiations on those issues, it is of course too early, but the prime minister did hint that he had urged Von der Leyen and co during his introductory meetings to consult on a few key matters. 

Another important reason for his visit to Brussels was the nomination of a Dutch European Commissioner. He did not utter a word about this after the visit, except that he had a tentative conversation about it with Von der Leyen. He did, however, reiterate that he assumes the Netherlands will not be able to secure a ‘heavy post’ in the new Commission, as it already had one in recent years with first vice-president Frans Timmermans in Juncker’s team.


Prime Minister of the Netherlands Dick Schoof meets with European Council President Charles Michel at the European Commission © BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS

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