Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met in The Hague on Wednesday ahead of the mid-October European Council meeting to discuss, among other subjects, the Brexit.
During a joint press conference ahead of their talks Merkel said to be pleased to hear that the Brexit negotiations seem to go in the direction of a deal. "Apparently progress has been made, but sometimes the devil is in the details," the German Chancellor said.
Merkel also said that there are still major obstacles. "A solution is only possible if everything has been resolved, and if we make more progress next week, that's a good signal," she added. "I would like progress to be made, but sometimes that does not go exactly on the themes you want, but I also hope for results next week."
"I think we can be cautiously optimistic that steps can be taken next week," Dutch PM Rutte said. "A lot depends on the talks in the coming days."
After his meeting with Merkel, Rutte also issued a statement in which he said that speaking with Merkel was "a great pleasure". He added that he repeated the importance of getting results at the forthcoming European Council meeting.
"Regardless of the other subjects we also looked forward," Rutte said. "For example to the discussion about the joint future of the remaining 27 EU countries without Britain. That future is of great concern to both of us. We agree that this discussion should be about concrete results for the inhabitants of the smaller EU and should not be bogged down in vague visions of the future."
Merkel and Rutte also spoke about migration. "In migration too, decisions need to be taken," Rutte stated.
"We strive for an integrated EU approach. With, on the one hand, stronger external borders, disembarkation on the North African coast and controlled centers on the southern European coast. And on the other hand, a revision of the common asylum system," he said.