Dutch and French intensify relations
16 October 2007, AMSTERDAM- France and the Netherlands are going to work together to intensify the competitive power of small and intermediate businesses in their countries, they said on Monday.
16 October 2007
AMSTERDAM- France and the Netherlands are going to work together to intensify the competitive power of small and intermediate businesses in their countries, they said on Monday.
The announcement came during a meeting of Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, who was visiting the Netherlands as part of his European tour to prepare the French EU presidency due to begin in the second half of 2008.
The new business committee was intended to reduce the number of government laws and regulations so that French and Dutch companies could improve their businesses, they said.
However, the Dutch and French prime ministers stressed the committee was just one of many ways in which both countries wanted to intensify their relations.
They also said their countries' main ports, the harbours of Rotterdam and Marseille, should intensify their cooperation.
The French and Dutch praised each other's policies concerning CO2 reduction and social dialogue and said these too were areas that required closer co-operation.
Balkenende and Fillon added that even the ongoing dialogue about their respective drug policies had improved in recent years.
In the past, the French government repeatedly criticised the Netherlands' tolerant drug policy, particularly concerning so-called soft drugs like cannabis.
Fillon spoke about a "spectacular rapprochement" between the countries. Balkenende said "cooperation had intensified. The atmosphere is excellent."
In 2005, the French and Dutch were the only European Union members to vote against the EU Treaty.
The French prime minister said the Dutch contribution to the revised European treaty that was negotiated in June 2007, had been "substantial."
The new treaty, Fillon said, would give the EU back its strength.
[Copyright dpa 2007]
Subject: Dutch news