Dutch king: European bouquet incomplete without English rose

AP News
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Posted: May 25, 2016 10:57 AM

BRUSSELS (AP) — Dutch King Willem-Alexander has used a speech to the European Parliament to make a plea for unity less than a month before Britain's referendum on whether to remain in the 28-nation bloc.

Speaking Wednesday in Brussels, Willem-Alexander said the "European bouquet" is not complete "without the English rose."

The king also highlighted shortcomings that have strained relations in Europe and fed a growing skeptical sentiment among the bloc's 500 million citizens.

He said that by concentrating on "essential issues which truly require a common approach," the EU will become more effective and can address concerns that its powers are too sweeping and centralized.

The Netherlands is a founding member and strong supporter of the EU, but also rejected the bloc's proposed constitution in a 2005 referendum.