First foreign appearance: Dutch PM Schoof meeting EU leaders in Brussels

THE HAGUE - Prime Minister Dick Schoof’s first foreign appearance takes him to Brussels on Monday. There, he will meet with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola. It is an introductory visit, not yet about doing business. The PVV, VVD, NSC, and BBB’s coalition agreement contains an extensive wish list that the new Schoof Caibnet must achieve in Brussels. 

Schoof is unknown in Brussels. It will be a big job for him to win a place among the colorful group of government leaders from the European Union and to regain a meaningful place for the Netherlands in the Brussels force field. After 14 years, former Prime Minister Mark Rutte was tried and tested. 

The question is whether Schoof will succeed in this. His Cabinet has been deployed with wishes that will, to say the least, not be welcomed in Europe. The PVV, VVD, NSC, and BBB want, among other things, less financial contributions to and more space from the European Union and, above all, an exceptional position for Dutch farmers. The coalition agreement also states that the Netherlands wants to opt out of asylum and migration. Actually realizing such an opt-out is not realistic. 

The Prime Minister may ask Von der Leyen on Monday what kind of candidate she has in mind for the new Dutch European Commissioner. Von der Leyen will assemble her new team in the coming weeks. Wopke Hoekstra (CDA) is currently the Netherlands’ European Commissioner. Schoof misspoke on Friday during his weekly press conference by saying that Hoekstra is a good candidate. According to Schoof, several candidates have shown interest.