Stef BlokMinister of Foreign Affairs
The Netherlands has a good international reputation, and rightly so. A reputation like ours is not a given, and it shouldn’t be taken for granted. We depend on the rest of the world for our standard of living and security. Developments in Europe, like Brexit, and in unstable countries on Europe’s external borders have a direct impact on us. Every day, we are faced with the consequences of migration, terrorism and climate change. Foreign affairs have become domestic affairs and vice versa.
Image: Arenda Oomen
Why did you agree to become foreign minister?
I want to uphold our interests abroad. All around the world our diplomats work to promote Dutch interests and values, and they are on call 24/7 to help Dutch nationals and companies in need. The wider world is also important for Dutch jobs. I am looking forward to working with our staff at the embassies, consulates and trade offices.
What aspect of the coalition agreement inspired you the most?
This government is looking to consolidate the Netherlands’ position in Europe and the rest of the world. To me, it’s clear what this implies: an assertive yet realistic foreign policy that embraces diplomacy, defence and development cooperation.