Toespraak van minister-president Mark Rutte tijdens een regeringslunch met de Italiaanse president Mattarella

Toespraak van minister-president Mark Rutte tijdens een regeringslunch met de Italiaanse president Mattarella op 10 november 2022. 

Deze toespraak is alleen beschikbaar in het Engels. 

Signor Presidente,

Your Majesties,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Mr President, a very warm welcome to you and your daughter Laura. It’s an honour and a pleasure to have you here in The Hague today.

Your visit underscores the special relationship between Italy and the Netherlands. A relationship that can be summed up in just a few words.




And even admiration.

As the football legend Johan Cruijff once said: ‘If the Italians get 1 chance, they score twice’. And as anyone who visits your country knows, that doesn’t apply only to Italian football teams.

Take the remarkable historical and cultural richness of Italy’s great cities. The innovation of your manufacturing industry.Your country’s eye for beauty and gift for design.

All proof that Italy is a country where people create – and seize – opportunities.As do we in the Netherlands.A quality we recognise in each other.

I’ve visited your country lots of times and this I know from experience: although in some ways our countries are very different, in many more ways we are united.Firmly united.

It’s no accident that, in the aftermath of the Second World War, Italy and the Netherlands came together to help launch the era of European cooperation. That fundamental choice – for cooperation instead of conflict – was a watershed moment in the history of our continent.A choice that has brought us decades of peace, freedom and prosperity.

And yes, the European Union often involves a lot of debate, with two steps forward followed by one step back – or sideways. But in the end we always reach a sensible compromise.

That’s how cooperation works. That’s how democracy works.

And today, as Europe is tested again – this time by Russian aggression – we still share the fundamental values of freedom, democracy and respect for the rule of law.

Now, more than ever, our countries must continue to stand shoulder to shoulder within the EU and NATO. I can’t stress that enough.

Because we need each other. Because together we are stronger.Because that international web of cooperation protects us.

Your visit tomorrow to Maastricht, which will be all about European cooperation, shows that Italy and the Netherlands feel the same way about this.Just as we feel the same way about the overarching issues of our time, including climate change and the energy transition.

It’s good that today’s lunch will feature several presentations on these themes, after which we’ll have the chance to talk about them. That way, we can combine a pleasant lunch with a useful discussion.

But first, let us raise our glasses. To your visit to our country, Mr PresidentTo the friendship between the peoples of Italy and the Netherlands.And to our common future in a strong, united Europe.