Koenders in Paris to meet with counterpart Fabius and attend Europe Seminar

Foreign minister Bert Koenders will be in Paris Wednesday to meet with French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, who will join him in opening a seminar which will deal with better regulation and a greater focus on priorities with the European Union.

This is the second time Mr Koenders will be in Paris as foreign minister for bilateral talks. He has described the Franco-Dutch relationship as multifaceted and close, especially in the political and cultural spheres. The two countries work together on a variety of issues, including European cooperation, peace and security outside Europe, combating social intolerance, trade, climate change and the transition to a green economy.

Mr Koenders and Mr Fabius will discuss the situation in Mali. Mr Koenders is keen to build on the foundation laid by the UN mission MINUSMA and the French mission Operation Barkhane. The two ministers will also speak about the MH17 disaster. Mr Koenders feels strongly about pushing ahead on UN Security Council Resolution 2166, which calls for the guilty parties to be tracked down and put on trial. Mr Koenders has spoken previously in Moscow and Washington about the international pledge to support the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators.

Another item on the agenda is the European Union. In 2016 the Presidency of the EU will pass to the Netherlands, which is now making preparations. After their meeting Mr Koenders and Mr Fabius will jointly open a seminar devoted to the European Commission’s plans to improve the Union’s regulatory environment. ‘The Commission’s proposal is promising. Europe need more focus, a better balance among the EU institutions and a stronger link with businesses and ordinary citizens,’ said Mr Koenders. The minister sees the Commission’s proposal as a first step, but believes that now is the time to work on putting it into practice. ‘Simpler regulation is about more than just de-regulation,’ Mr Koenders remarked. ‘Measures need to be broadly conceived if they’re going to be effective.’ The seminar’s participants, including representatives of the business community, the government, trade unions, think-tanks and universities, will discuss how the Netherlands and France can work together at European level to make this happen.