THE HAGUE, Netherlands―The Netherlands wants to be US President Joe Biden’s “gateway” to Europe following Britain’s departure from the EU, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday.
Rutte said the Dutch were the “most transatlantic” European country and wanted to take over Britain’s role following Brexit and the departure of Donald Trump.
The Dutch and the British were longtime free-market allies in the EU where they often positioned themselves against the French and the Germans on trade issues.
“The Netherlands would of course, following the UK’s departure from the EU, like to play a special role in that relationship with America, not only as a physical but also a political gateway to Europe,” Rutte told a press conference when asked what he would say to the newly-inaugurated Biden when they speak.
“We are of course much smaller than England, but we are mentally―and the Americans see it too―the most transatlantic country in Europe,” he added.
“So I would also like to use those old ties... and also try to play a role in the America-Europe relationship.”
Rutte said he had not yet spoken to Biden by telephone and did not have a call scheduled, adding however that he had previously met him a few times.
The Dutch prime minister and his cabinet resigned a week ago over a child benefits scandal, but are staying on in a caretaker role until elections in March.