Thursday, 28 September 2023
PoliticsHoekstra is already leaving for a Brussels job, MEP Esther de Lange...

Hoekstra is already leaving for a Brussels job, MEP Esther de Lange tipped as his successor

UPDATECDA member Wopke Hoekstra will step down as Minister of Foreign Affairs this week to prepare for his new job as European Commissioner. According to various sources, CDA MEP Esther de Lange ‘running his’ as a potential successor to Hoekstra.

De Lange is considered the most experienced Dutch MEP and is now the leader of the CDA delegation – part of the Christian Democratic political family EPP – in Brussels. As deputy group leader of the EPP, De Lange has a key position within that party, the Christian Democrats form the largest group in the European Parliament.

De Lange would also have been interested in the post of European Commissioner, but to the great surprise of many CDA members, Wopke Hoekstra runs off with that post. “De Lange is in the running, but whether she will be it is not yet certain,” says an insider at the CDA. Her name is also ‘circulating very persistently’ at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Although the department also hopes for a minister with administrative experience, since the new substitute minister is jumping on a moving train; in wartime, too. An old-timer like Ben Knapen, for example, who was state secretary in that department in the Rutte I cabinet. And in 2021, after the resignation of Sigrid Kaag, the CDA member also stepped in as Minister of Foreign Affairs. However, Knapen (72) would not be hungry this time, party member and state secretary Marnix van Rij asked questions about this last Friday. “I think Ben Knapen is enjoying the phase he is in now, he has done his duty.”

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Hoekstra will almost certainly submit his resignation this week, just a week after it was leaked that he will succeed Timmermans as Dutch European Commissioner. Hoekstra’s candidacy was only known in a very small circle of government and that news surprised and annoyed even CDA members high up in the party top, insiders report: “Whether he surprised friend and foe, I don’t know, but many CDA friends knew nothing about this.” of,” a source said.

Hoekstra must prepare for a tough interrogation in the European Parliament. In October, Hoekstra will be questioned by MEPs as Commissioner-designate, which, according to a source from The Hague, will become ‘old-fashioned blocks’ (studying) on ​​the climate dossier.

Hoekstra can only screw up the appointment as European Commissioner if he makes a lousy turn at that hearing, sources outline. Good preparation is therefore crucial. That cannot be combined with a ministerial position, say insiders.

Demissionary Mickey Adriaansens and Liesje Schreinemacher (r) at the Ministry of General Affairs for a final consultation on next year’s budget. © ANP

Climate conference

Hoekstra was nominated as the new European Commissioner this Tuesday after a meeting with President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission. In this position he succeeds Frans Timmermans, who has become leader of the new PvdA/GroenLinks combination. The climate conference will be held in Dubai in November, where Hoekstra, as European Commissioner, must negotiate new climate agreements. He also has to familiarize himself with this and make contact with climate negotiators from other countries.

The CDA will probably announce Hoekstra’s successor soon, possibly as early as next weekend. Then the party board – the association council – will also meet to take all kinds of decisions about the Lower House and European elections.

Liesje Schreinemacher cannot deputize for Hoekstra for months anyway. Takes in December
the VVD politician on maternity leave. The VVD can then replace Schreinemacher, but the new CDA minister of Foreign Affairs may also temporarily replace her. In that case, other outgoing ministers in the cabinet would also like to take over some of Schreinemacher’s tasks, such as leading a trade mission.

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