July 3, 2018 / 12:12 PM / 4 months ago

Dutch PM Rutte - Clarity urgently needed about EU-UK relationship

British Prime Minister Theresa May is welcomed by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte ahead of a meeting in the Hague, Netherlands, July 3, 2018. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Clarity is quickly required on “every aspect” of the future relationship between the European Union and Britain, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday after meeting his British counterpart Theresa May.

The meeting with Rutte came as May faced growing pressure to spell out the preferred British position on trade with the bloc after it leaves the European Union, planned in less than nine months.

“We urgently need clarity about every aspect of the future relationship between the EU and the UK,” Rutte said.

May, who is due to meet German leader Angela Merkel in the next few days, did not immediately provide any comment.

The Netherlands has lobbied for favourable exit terms for Britain, its third-largest trading partner, but would support whatever deal the European Commission negotiates.

Senior British government ministers meet on Friday in the latest attempt to agree Britain’s position in the talks on UK-EU trade relations. Lawmakers are then expected to vote in the autumn on the terms of Britain’s withdrawal.

Britain is the third largest destination for Dutch exports, worth 57.5 billion euros in 2017, while the Netherlands is the fifth largest destination for British exports, worth an annual 38.6 billion euros.

Dutch exposure to a possible British exit from the European Union will be greater than for other members of the bloc and could trim 1.2 percent off the Netherlands’ economy by 2030, the government’s leading forecaster has warned.

Reporting by Bart Meijer; Writing by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Keith Weir

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