International Legal Order

Over the past seven decades, international rules have determined how we trade, how our citizens travel, how we fight poverty and climate change, as well as how we resolve disputes and manage conflict. It’s not a perfect system, but it has made countries like Australia and the Netherlands more prosperous and secure than at any other time in our history. National interests are often best served by international cooperation.

PM Mark Rutte speech Lowy Institute

In his speech in October 2019 at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Prime Minister Mark Rutte emphasised that today the multilateral system is under increasing pressure, and can no longer be taken for granted. Some international actors are trying to change the rules. Others are breaking them or ignoring them. The answer to this pressure is not to withdraw from international bodies and treaties, but to modernise and improve the international system and to make it fit for purpose again.

For middle powers like Australia and the Netherlands, working together is the best way to influence and shape international debate. Both our countries believe in the rule of law, democracy and free trade and have forged a strong bond, working to bring justice to the victims of MH17 and their families. We also complement each other perfectly, with Australia strongly represented in the Indo-Pacific region and the Netherlands at the heart of the European Union and the transatlantic world.