New Dutch and UK prime ministers to sneak out of NATO Summit to watch Euro semi-final

WASHINGTON - Dutch Prime Minister Dick Schoof and his British counterpart, Keir Starmer, plan to find a way to break out of the NATO Summit in Washington D.C. on Wednesday to watch the Netherlands-England European Championship football match together. Schoof grinned, saying that would “of course be extremely” agreeable. 

The semi-final of the Euro match falls right in the middle of the first real day of the summit in Washington D.C. Political leaders are scheduled to take part in almost constant talks that day. Schoof said he assumes he “will have to miss the first half.” He added, “I might still get a memo every now and then. But the second half, if I see it correctly, I can watch it together with the newly-elected Prime Minister of the UK.” He is hoping a television screen will be set up in a side room of the conference center where the summit is being held. The 75th anniversary summit will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. 

Schoof is “confident that the Netherlands will win and that I can be at the final in Berlin on Sunday evening.” But Starmer will also be aiming for the opposite result. According to the British NATO delegation, he is a big football fan. 

Several Dutch municipalities will pause their council meetings so members can watch the match on Wednesday evening. In Groningen, Haaksbergen and Hof van Twente, among others, the City Council debates will be cut short. 

The council members in Groningen will start their meeting two hours earlier than usual on Wednesday. The meeting will begin at 2:30 p.m. and the lunch break will also be shortened. According to a municipal spokesperson, the council members hope to be finished by 8:30 p.m. “so that everyone can be home or wherever in time to watch the match.” 

The Haaksbergen meeting will start half an hour earlier than usual on Wednesday, at 7 p.m. “This means that after the council meeting, we in Haaksbergen can all watch the semi-final of the Dutch national team.” 

In the neighboring municipality of Hof van Twente, the council meeting will begin on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., an hour earlier than normal. A spokesperson confirms that this is because of the European Championship match. “This was decided in consultation with the factions. That does not mean that the meeting ends at 9p.m.” 

Earlier, the Harlingen City Council decided to start their meeting earlier in the day on Wednesday. If the agenda is not completed by 8:30 p.m., the meeting will be suspended and continued on Thursday evening. 

In Tiel, the council meeting has been moved from Wednesday to Tuesday. “This gives the representatives the necessary peace and quiet to properly discuss the financial state of affairs of the municipality and also enjoy the football,” the municipality said.