Barroso: Europe needs Netherlands

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European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has said that “Europe needs the Netherlands and its innovative spirit”.

Mr Barroso made his remark during the official opening of the House of Europe in The Hague, which was also attended by the Queen Beatrix, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Deputy Chairman Stavros Lambrinidis of the European Parliament.

In his speech Mr Barroso praised the Dutch people for their openness, culture and their spirit of innovation across the centuries. He said these qualities were an asset to the European Union. He also pointed out that the Netherlands had always been strongly aware of the fact that cooperation makes it possible to survive in a changing world. Mr Barroso said that solidarity and a sense of responsibility are, and must remain, the guiding thoughts of the European Union.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the opening of the House of Europe in The Hague meant the continent once again ‘has a roof over its head’. The extensively renovated building near the parliament building is home to the Representation of the European Commission and the information office of the European Parliament.

The prime minister emphasised the need for extensive reform in the EU in order for it to remain strong. Mr Rutte said this required decisiveness and courage. He added that he was glad a new approach was being put into effect in order to remove obstacles to a free and open market. Deputy Chairman Lambrinidis pointed out that if the 27 EU member states worked together no other world power would be able to rival Europe as an economic and political factor.

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