Koenders: Solid commitment to climate diplomacy needed

Foreign minister Bert Koenders believes EU member states must coordinate their efforts better as far as the climate is concerned. ‘In addition to technical negotiations on the global climate agreement that is to be concluded in Paris in December, a more solid commitment to climate diplomacy is needed,’ said the minister.

On Wednesday, in the margins of the state visit to Denmark, Mr Koenders met with his Danish counterpart Martin Lidegaard. ‘Together with Denmark, we are aiming for better coordination of climate policy in Europe,’ remarked Mr Koenders. ‘There is currently a lack of focus. While some countries are forging ahead, others are not. The Netherlands and Denmark agree that this needs to change.’

Mr Koenders is in Denmark accompanying King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima on their state visit to the country. He is also leading a parallel trade mission comprising representatives of more than 35 companies primarily active in the energy and medical technology sectors. ‘Dutch businesses clearly have a lot to offer Denmark. Trade missions like this one give smaller businesses the chance to get a foot in the door and contribute to energy projects or super hospitals,’ said Mr Koenders.

And that’s useful for both parties says the minister. ‘Dutch wind energy contractors have excellent knowledge of the relevant technology and logistics, and other particularities of offshore energy provision. This makes them perfectly suited to respond to Danish needs. There are clear opportunities for the Netherlands and Denmark in this sector, and today’s visit to the island of Samsø – which aims to be CO2 free by 2050 – is the proof.’

Mr Koenders and Mr Lidegaard also spoke about cooperation in the UN mission in Mali, where Dutch and Danish personnel are gathering intelligence to aid the mission’s effectiveness. Other subjects they addressed included the conflict in eastern Ukraine and Russia’s role in it, the crisis in Syria and the fight against terrorism. ‘The recent attacks in Copenhagen and France demonstrate all too well how the increasing instability at the edge of Europe directly affects our own security,’ remarked Mr Koenders. ‘It’s crucial that we work together to combat terrorism effectively.’

The ministers agreed to increase bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism. ‘When it comes to counterterrorism and combating jihadism and radicalisation, Denmark has expertise in other areas than the Netherlands. This means we can learn a lot from one another,’ said Mr Koenders following the meeting.