Joint Statement Australia and the Netherlands

Media statement
09 Dec 2020
Prime Minister

The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister of Australia, and H.E. Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, held a Leaders’ virtual meeting on 9 December 2020.

The leaders expressed their deep sadness at the ongoing loss of life caused by the COVID 19 pandemic. They stressed the importance of international cooperation to overcome the health crisis, including universal, equitable and early access to safe, effective and affordable COVID-19 vaccines. They reaffirmed their commitment to re-building resilient and sustainable economies in line with open and rules-based trade. They also agreed to work together in relevant forums to promote the development of international standards to enable COVID-proof international travel.

The leaders committed to continue to pursue truth, justice and accountability for the 298 victims of Flight MH17 and their loved ones, including the 196 Dutch nationals and 38 people who called Australia home. The leaders reaffirmed their strong support for the work of the Joint Investigation Team and the ongoing criminal trial of four suspects in The District Court of The Hague. The leaders expressed their disappointment in the Russian Federation’s decision to withdraw from the trilateral meetings with Australia and the Netherlands regarding the Russian Federation’s role in the downing of Flight MH17. The leaders agreed to continue to urge the Russian Federation to reconsider its decision. The leaders also acknowledged further efforts to hold the Russian Federation to account through the cases brought by the next of kin and the Netherlands against the Russian Federation in the European Court of Human Rights in relation to the downing of Flight MH17. The leaders also acknowledged further efforts to hold the Russian Federation to account through the cases brought by the next of kin and the Netherlands against the Russian Federation in the European Court of Human Rights in relation to the downing of Flight MH17. 

Prime Minister Morrison welcomed the Netherlands’ Indo-Pacific Guidelines and its commitment to cooperate closely with Australia and other regional countries in support of an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific. The leaders agreed to work together to maintain regional resilience and capacity for sovereign choices and to promote and uphold international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

The leaders emphasised their commitment to multilateral cooperation, and to a rules-based global order. They stressed the importance of multilateral institutions, including the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, OECD, World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization, and the importance of effective, independent leadership within institutions. They confirmed their commitment to the continued and timely implementation of the World Health Assembly resolution of 19 May 2020 on COVID-19, including the impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation into the response to the pandemic. 

The leaders underlined the crucial role the rules-based trading system plays in supporting COVID-19 economic recovery. They emphasised the need for open markets, greater supply chain resilience and enhanced trade and investment that contributes to sustainable development. In this context, they welcomed progress towards a comprehensive, high-quality, sustainable and inclusive Australia-EU FTA.

The leaders committed to establishing a General Security Agreement (GSA) between Australia and the Netherlands. The GSA will enable greater collaboration between our respective Governments and reflects the commitment of both countries to work in partnership to uphold international law and address common strategic security challenges.

The leaders agreed that resolute and coordinated action is key to tackling the urgent challenge of climate change and environmental degradation. The leaders underlined their commitment to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and to step up global action to tackle climate change in the lead up to COP26 in 2021, including through intensifying global cooperation on low emissions technologies. Both leaders acknowledged the need to achieve net zero emissions and to pursue a low emissions development strategy in accordance with the Paris Agreement. The leaders recalled the request by UNFCCC COP21 to communicate or update their Nationally Determined Contributions reflecting the highest possible ambition. Both leaders also acknowledged the importance of reducing waste and emphasised their commitment to cooperation on the circular economy. 

The leaders welcomed the continued broadening and deepening of the bilateral economic and security relationship, including in the areas of critical minerals, disinformation and countering foreign interference, as well as cyber security and critical and emerging technology.