Is the bond between the Netherlands and France really that strong? And he answered 5 other questions about the relationship between countries
Emmanuel Macron will pay a state visit to the Netherlands on Tuesday and Wednesday. It is the first state visit by a French president to our country in 23 years. What does that say about relations between the Netherlands and France? 6 of your questions have been answered.
Maike Kaufmann also notes that relations between the Netherlands and France have improved. As an undergraduate lecturer in French literature and cultural history at Radboud University Nijmegen, she specializes in relations with France. “After Brexit, the Netherlands became an important partner for France. This also applies to the other way around.”
1. What is the benefit of this state visit?
“The state visit is particularly useful for improving relations between the two countries. President Macron was received by King Willem-Alexander yesterday, but today there are also talks between cabinet members of the two countries on various topics, such as the economy, immigration and climate.”
“So the visit goes beyond just contact between the French president and the Dutch prime minister. The main purpose of Macron’s visit is to strengthen cooperation between the Dutch and French governments.”
2. Are the relations between the Netherlands and France really strong?
“The Netherlands and France are almost neighboring countries and have been important trading partners to each other for a long time. The relationship is also improving politically. It has to do with the fact that Macron and Ruth have the same political personality and coexist with each other. Well. The UK is no longer part of the European Union.”
“The Netherlands has often been cooperating with the British and now has to enter into other relationships within the EU. But Macron is also looking in other countries. He seems to not get along with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz as he does with his predecessor Angela Merkel. That could play a role in the rapprochement. with the Netherlands.
3. What would change in this relationship if the United Kingdom returned to the European Union?
“It is difficult to imagine at the moment, but if this happens, the cards will be shuffled again. But I think that what is being built now between the Netherlands and France, in the areas of higher education, defense and the economy, will not disappear the moment the United Kingdom decides to return.” .
“I think you have to see this relationship in its own right. It has always been the case that the Dutch looked at France more than the other way around: from a small country to a larger one. But now you see that the Netherlands has become more important in the new Europe through Brexit” .
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4. What is being done to promote the French language and culture in the Netherlands?
“There are many organizations trying to promote the status of French culture in Holland. They don’t have the wind in their backs. Young people’s interest in French is declining. Our culture is very focused on the English-speaking world. Young people think at the time: I hear this language around me, That’s why I can learn it more easily. That’s why the French courses have such a hard time. We’re trying to change that with all kinds of projects and agencies.”
“For example, through the National Platform for Languages, which tries to get young people interested in languages on behalf of universities. You also have the Institut Français, which is paid for by France and organizes all kinds of activities to involve the Dutch in French language and culture.”
“Moreover, the France platform organizes a lot of public activities, also in the field of education, research, translation, etc., but such activities do not attract thousands of people. I notice that in recent years it has become something of experts. Even in the middle of the last century, French is the most important foreign language in the Netherlands. Since then, English has been dominant.”
5. Why does France interfere with Dutch legume hunting?
“This is a bit shortsighted: the French government naturally has no direct say in our country. Fisheries policy in the EU is determined where the governments of the member states make agreements. The countries have conflicting interests. So I think the more we are friends of France, the sooner we can Involving them in an important file for us. Therefore, the most important thing is to deal with European politics seriously.
6. What could the Netherlands and France mean to each other in the future?
“A lot. But actually I’d like to think about the question: What can EU countries mean to each other? We’re facing some very big challenges: climate, economics, migration. It’s completely irrational to think that a small country like the Netherlands can solve these problems on its own, We need each other.”
“This is why we must stand together against the threats that exist and focus on making policy for a sustainable future. The relationship between the Netherlands and France is part of the bigger picture. Macron is therefore aware that he must build good relations with other countries in Europe, including the Netherlands.” .
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