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EU movement rules discussed by PMs

The UK and the Netherlands could work together on measures to tackle the abuse of European Union free movement rules, Downing Street has indicated after a meeting between David Cameron and his Dutch counterpart.

The Prime Minister will need allies in Europe for his efforts to renegotiate the UK's relationship with Brussels, and Mr Cameron has set out his desire for changes to the free movement rules because of concerns over immigration and the impact on countries' welfare systems.

Mr Cameron hosted Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte at his Chequers retreat, where they also discussed the support offered by firms from the Netherlands in the flood relief effort and the latest developments in the Ukraine crisis.

A No10 spokeswoman said: " Their discussions focused on EU affairs, specifically how to reform Europe to make it drive economic growth.

"Ahead of this year's European Parliament elections and the appointment of new presidents of the Council and Commission, they agreed that it is important to set out priorities for the European Union for the rest of the decade.

"They agreed we should complete the single market and do more at the appropriate level, following the Dutch dictum 'Europe if necessary, national when possible'. They also discussed the need to tackle the abuse of free movement and to explore future co-operation in this area.

"They also discussed the situation in Ukraine. Today's agreement is a chance to end the bloodshed and to put the country on the path to peace and stability and all sides must seize this opportunity and stand by their commitments.

"The Prime Minister said that we had appreciated the specialist flooding assistance provided by Dutch companies, particularly in the Somerset levels.

"And, they agreed that, as the Government considers how to strengthen our resilience to flooding, there would be opportunities for Dutch and British authorities to share ideas and experience.

"Finally, they congratulated each other on both countries enjoying their best performance ever at a Winter Olympics."

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