Diplomacy with a smile can restore Dutch image: former minister
Monday 15 October 2012
The Netherlands can regain its previous influence in the world if the new government ditches its current ‘surly’ image, former foreign minister Ben Bot told a television show on Sunday.
Bot told current affairs show Buitenhof he agreed with a letter written by very senior civil servants to the cabinet negotiating team calling for ‘a Netherlands which presents itself better abroad’.
Over the past few years, the Netherlands has become known as the country which opposes everything, he said. ‘Diplomacy with a smile and a soft voice’ will put the Netherlands back on the map, Bot said.
The Netherlands’ image as a surly Eurosceptic country stems from the previous government’s alliance with the anti-immigration PVV, he said, adding he had often been irritated at the way Christian Democrat ministers acted tough abroad so as not to upset Geert Wilders.
In their letter, published by the NRC last week, the secretary-generals of a number of government departments called on the next government to ensure properly coordinated foreign policy.
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