The Netherlands and France agree on EU budget discipline

The Netherlands and France will continue to act in concert within the European Union on key issues such as enlargement and the upcoming negotiations on the EU budget. During a visit to Paris by Dutch foreign minister Uri Rosenthal, he and French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Michèle Alliot-Marie agreed: both their countries maintain that EU spending increases must be curbed and that EU criteria and rules for accession countries must be strictly adhered to.

The two ministers also discussed recent developments in Egypt and Tunisia. They exchanged ideas on ways for the EU to support Egyptian initiatives to advance the transition process in the two Arab countries.

In addition, Mr Rosenthal and Ms Alliot-Marie discussed the human rights situation in Iran and Iran’s international commitments on nuclear issues; both stressed the importance of EU sanctions. These subjects will be on the agenda of the upcoming meeting of European foreign ministers on 21 February in Brussels.

Ms Alliot-Marie expressed her commitment to the Franco-Dutch Cooperation Council, which brings together representatives of the two countries’ political, business, media, research and cultural communities and organises seminars, visits and exchanges. In the near future the two ministers will choose a specific, timely theme for the Council to focus on.