Infrastructure minister Melanie Schultz has denied claims that she has been offered the job of Schiphol airport chief executive after the next election.
Schultz, who has already announced her intention to quit politics after next year’s vote, told MPs she had not been approached about the job. ‘I was congratulated on Twitter and had to look up what the fuss was about,’ she is quoted as saying by the Financieele Dagblad.
Current Schiphol CEO Jos Nijhuis’s contract expires at the end of this year. Pressed by MPs about the potential conflict of interest Schultz said: ‘Aviation is part of the junior minister’s job and so I do not have access to confidential information.’
In addition, Schultz said she did not accept the need for a cooling off period after the end of her term of office before she took up a job in the same sector. ‘That depends very much on your own integrity,’ Schultz said.
Camiel Eurlings, who held the top transport job up to 2010, generated a storm of criticism when he moved straight from politics to a top job at airline KLM.
There is growing pressure in parliament for some sort of cooling off period for ministers. Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem told Vrij Nederland magazine last year that he felt ministers who move into management roles in the same sector are ‘vulnerable’ to conflict of interest claims.