Rutte and Cameron in The Hague
Cameron is welcomed by his Dutch counterpart Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague, The NetherlandsReuters

Prime Minister David Cameron met Dutch PM Mark Rutte in The Hague on Thursday (28 May) in the first of a series of EU talks with fellow European leaders.

Cameron said the UK and the Netherlands are "old friends and like-minded allies," as both governments think EU reform is needed.

"We have worked together on making sure that the European budget is under control, we have worked together on trade deals with other parts of the world, so we will discuss all that and my plans for European reform," Cameron said in a press conference before going into talks with Rutte.

Cameron met Rutte at the Catshuis, the Dutch equivalent of 10 Downing Street, before heading to Paris for talks with French President Hollande.

EU reform is a popular topic in Dutch media and politics as there is a relatively high sense of euroscepticism among the Dutch people, which was worsened recently when De Telegraaf, the biggest newspaper in the Netherlands, claimed that the country would have had to pay an extra €133m (£94.8m, $145.1m) in additional EU tax on Tuesday (26 May).

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch minister of finance, later explained that this was not the case.

Rutte, who is the leader of centre-right VVD (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy), stated in the party's official manifesto that it wants to be the frontrunner in EU reforms.

Rutte's VVD is the biggest party in a coalition government with centre-left PvdA (Party Of Labour). The government holds a slight majority of 76 out of 150 parliamentary seats.

Both parties in the government want EU reforms, though Cameron finds an ally in Rutte regarding their market-oriented preference.

"The cabinet thinks that it is in the interest of the EU, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom itself that the UK remains a member state of the EU," Bert Koenders, minister of foreign affairs, said in a statement leading up to the meeting.

The Netherlands sees the UK, one of its most important trading parties, as its main ally in the EU and would go to great lengths to keep the UK in the union.

Although the UK and the Netherlands are very like-minded on many aspects of proposed EU reform, Rutte is reluctant to make the UK an exception case for certain rules applying to member states.

However, Rutte's desire to take the initiative in EU reform and his dependence on the UK means he is likely to support many of Cameron's proposed points of review.

"We have to focus on the essentials, where working together can really add something to the British public, to the Dutch public and to all the people living in the 28 member states," Rutte said at the press conference.

The Dutch government says it is "constructively critical" of the EU and wants it to stop functioning as a middleman between individual member states.