King Willem-Alexander: UK should remain in the EU
King Willem-Alexander spoke to the British press on Monday and has interesting views on how the relationship between the UK and The Netherlands will survive Brexit.
He feels that Britain’s trading relationship with the Netherlands, worth more than €60bn will survive Brexit, but feels that it would have been much better for the UK to remain in the EU.
He reiterated that the Dutch government’s position remained one of regret that Brexit was happening, but that the country ultimately respected the choice of the British people.
It has been forecast that Brexit will cost the Netherlands 1.2 per cent of its GDP by 2030, and the country has already hired nearly 1,000 new customs officers to prepare for a “no deal” Brexit.
King Willem-Alexander believes that the trading partnership between the two countries will stay strong, with more bi-lateral agreements becoming the norm as a result of the UK’s departure from the EU.
Trade between the Netherlands and the UK is worth more than €60bn both ways, which the king said was a result of transparency on either side of the partnership, with both countries taking a like-minded approach to doing business.
Earlier this year, the chief executive of the Port of Rotterdam, Allard Castelein, said the trading hub was preparing for the worst in anticipation of a hard Brexit.
Britain is the Netherlands’ second largest trading partner after Germany, and the majority of that trade flows through Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port.Meanwhile, the UK government criticised the EU on Monday for being too “optimistic” that a deal will be reached quickly.
Theresa May’s spokesman downplayed growing hopes emerging from Brussels, insisting the two sides are still far apart and that the EU must make further compromises. It’s almost as if the British Government don’t want an agreement.
The interview with the king came ahead of the state visit by the Dutch royal family to Great Britain, on 23 October.
During his trip to London, King Willem-Alexander will meet with the Lord Mayor of the City of London to discuss Dutch-British co-operation on, among other subjects sustainable production and artificial intelligence.