Speech by Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands at the Global Citizen Awards ceremony in New York
Esteemed members of the Atlantic Council,
Ladies and gentleman,
Thank you so much for bestowing on me one of the Global Citizens Awards for 2019.
It's a great honour and privilege.
I must confess, though, that I'm actually a man of habit and tradition.
To give you an example: I was born and raised in city of The Hague, still live there and have no intention of moving elsewhere.
So some of my best friends had a hard time picturing me as a trendsetting global citizen.
But as you pointed out, Professor Schwab, this prize is all about strengthening international and, especially, trans-Atlantic relations.
And that is close to my heart.
It's a fundamental truth that trans-Atlantic cooperation makes us stronger than when we're apart.
That's not rocket science, but simple common sense, as world history since 1945 has shown.
Perhaps the most important lesson I've learned in my years as Prime Minister of one of the world's most outward-looking trading countries is that national interests are often best served by international cooperation.
This is true when it comes to free and fair world trade.
It's true in the field of safety and security, with NATO as a prime example, serving the interests of all member states, including the US.
But it's also true when we look at the SDGs or the Paris Climate Agreement.
The late Kofi Annan once said: 'I am often asked what can people do to become a good global citizen? I reply that it begins in your own community.'
So what we do at home and how we operate abroad are connected.
And if we do the right things, the right way, in the right order together, then suddenly one plus one can add up to three.
Now it's almost a cliché to say that the global balance of power is changing rapidly.
But that's the thing with clichés: they are true and we have to deal with that reality.
When I was a guest of this great Atlantic Council in Washington last July, I had the opportunity to speak about this at length.
And my key message remains that in today's world it's in our own interest and in our common interest to keep the trans-Atlantic bond strong and vibrant.
Because we need each other to safeguard our democratic and free societies.
To protect and bolster free and fair world trade.
And last but not least, to make the post-war multilateral system fit for purpose once again.
Because the UN, NATO and the WTO were all grounded on the principles of a bipolar world. A time when there were clear boundaries between East and West, and between a First and Third World.
Since then, reality has changed but the underlying system has not evolved to keep up.
That's causing problems and friction.
Today we live in a multipolar and volatile world, a world of shifting coalitions.
And it's up to us ? the responsible politicians of today ? to make sure we respond to this new reality.
By making all the necessary changes and improvements, but without throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
I believe this is one of the main tasks we face across the Atlantic region.
Ladies and gentlemen,
When I heard that the Atlantic Council had been kind enough to make me a Global Citizen and that the ceremony would take place on Wall Street, my thoughts immediately turned to the Dutchwoman whose name is engraved in the 9/11 monument just a few blocks from here.
Ingeborg Lariby was only 42 years old when she died on that horrific day that reshaped an era.
She truly was a global citizen, born to Dutch parents, building a life for herself here in New York, with friends all over the world.
In her obituary in the New York Times she was eloquently described as 'native of the Netherlands, citizen of everywhere.'
It's a thought that should appeal to us all.
Because wherever we come from we all gain from an international outlook and an open mind.
And so I see this honour not as a lifetime achievement award, but as an incentive prize.