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Franciscus Henricus Johannes Joseph "Frans" Andriessen (2 April 1929 – 22 March 2019) was a Dutch politician of the defunct Catholic People's Party (KVP) and later the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party and businessman.

Frans Andriessen
Frans Andriessen 1979 (1).jpg
Frans Andriessen in 1979
European Commissioner for
External Relations
and Trade
In office
6 January 1989 – 6 January 1993
PresidentJacques Delors
Preceded byWilly De Clercq
Succeeded byHans van den Broek
for External relations
Leon Brittan
for Trade
First Vice-President of the
European Commission
In office
6 January 1985 – 6 January 1993
PresidentJacques Delors
Preceded byFrançois-Xavier Ortoli
Succeeded byLeon Brittan
European Commissioner for
Agriculture
and Fisheries
In office
6 January 1985 – 6 January 1989
Serving with
PresidentJacques Delors
Preceded byPoul Dalsager
for Agriculture
Giorgios Contogeorgis
for Fisheries
Succeeded byRay MacSharry
for Agriculture
Manuel Marin
for Fisheries
European Commissioner for
Competition
and Parliamentary
Relations
In office
6 January 1981 – 6 January 1985
PresidentGaston Thorn
Preceded byRaymond Vouel
for Competition
Succeeded byPeter Sutherland
for Competition
Grigoris Varfis
for Parliamentary Relations
Member of the Senate
In office
16 September 1980 – 6 January 1981
Parliamentary groupChristian Democratic Appeal
(1980–1981)
Catholic People's Party
(1980)
Minister of Finance
In office
19 December 1977 – 22 February 1980
Prime MinisterDries van Agt
Preceded byWim Duisenberg
Succeeded byGijs van Aardenne (Ad interim)
Leader of the Catholic
People's Party
In office
1 October 1971 – 25 May 1977
Deputy
Preceded byGerard Veringa
Succeeded byOffice discontinued
Parliamentary leader in the
House of Representatives
In office
16 August 1971 – 25 May 1977
Preceded byGerard Veringa
Succeeded byOffice discontinued
Parliamentary groupCatholic People's Party
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
23 February 1967 – 19 December 1977
Parliamentary groupCatholic People's Party
Personal details
Born
Franciscus Henricus Johannes Joseph Andriessen

(1929-04-02)2 April 1929
Utrecht, Netherlands
Died22 March 2019(2019-03-22) (aged 89)
Bilthoven, Netherlands
NationalityDutch
Political partyChristian Democratic Appeal
(from 1980)
Other political
affiliations
Catholic People's Party
(until 1980)
Spouse(s)
Catherine Andriessen
(m. 1959; his death 2019)
Alma materUtrecht University
(Bachelor of Laws, Master of Laws)
OccupationPolitician · Jurist · Researcher · Businessman · Corporate director · Nonprofit director · Lobbyist · Professor

Andriessen applied at the Utrecht University in June 1947 majoring in Law and obtaining an Bachelor of Laws degree in June 1949 and graduating with an Master of Laws degree in July 1953. Andriessen worked for a construction institute in Utrecht from October 1953 until February 1967 as a researcher from October 1953 until July 1961 and as Chief executive officer (CEO) from July 1961 until February 1967.

Andriessen was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives after the election of 1967, taking office on 23 February 1967 serving as a frontbencher chairing the special parliamentary committee for Public Housing costs and spokesperson for Housing and Spatial Planning and deputy spokesperson for Local Government Affairs. On 16 August 1971 the Leader of the Catholic People's Party and Parliamentary leader of the Catholic People's Party in the House of Representatives Gerard Veringa took a leave of absence for health reasons the Catholic People's Party leadership approached Andriessen as interim Parliamentary leader, taking office on 16 August 1971. On 28 September 1971 Veringa unexpectedly announced that he was stepping down as Leader permanently and the Catholic People's Party leadership approached Andriessen as his successor, Andriessen accepted and became the Leader of the Catholic People's Party, taking office on 1 October 1971. For the election of 1972 Andriessen served as Lijsttrekker (top candidate). The Catholic People's Party suffered a loss, losing 8 seats but retained its place as the second largest party and now had 27 seats in the House of Representatives. The following second cabinet formation of 1972 resulted in a coalition agreement between the Catholic People's Party, the Labour Party (PvdA), the Anti-Revolutionary Party (ARP), the Political Party of Radicals (PPR) and the Democrats 66 (D'66) which formed the Cabinet Den Uyl with Andriessen opting to remain in the House of Representatives instead of accepting a cabinet post in the new cabinet and he continued to serve in the House of Representatives as Parliamentary leader. On 10 December 1976 the Catholic People's Party, the Anti-Revolutionary Party and the Christian Historical Union (CHU) choose to merge in a political alliance to form the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). Incumbent Deputy Prime Minister Dries van Agt of the Catholic People's Party was choose as the first Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal and became the Lijsttrekker for the election of 1977. The following cabinet formation of 1977 resulted in a coalition agreement between the Christian Democratic Appeal and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) which formed the Cabinet Van Agt-Wiegel with Andriessen appointed as Minister of Finance, taking office on 19 December 1977. On 22 February 1980 Andriessen and State Secretary for Finance Ad Nooteboom resigned after he disagreed with the cabinets decision to not implement a stronger austerity policy to revitalize the Economy following the recession in the 1980s. Andriessen remained in active in national politics, he was elected as a Member of the Senate after the Senate election of 1980, taking office on 16 September 1980 serving as a frontbencher and spokesperson for Finances.

In November 1980 Andriessen was nominated as the next European Commissioner from the Netherlands. Andriessen was giving the heavy portfolios of Competition and Parliamentary Relations in the Thorn Commission, he resigned as a Member of the Senate the same day he was installed as European Commissioner, taking office on 6 January 1981. In December 1984 Andriessen was re-nominated as European Commissioner. He was given the portfolios of Agriculture and Fisheries and was also appointed as the First Vice-President of the European Commission in the First Delors Commission, taking office on 6 January 1985. In November 1988 Andriessen was again re-nominated as European Commissioner. He was given the heavy portfolios of External Relations and Trade and was also re-appointed as the First Vice-President of the European Commission in the Second Delors Commission, serving from 6 January 1989 until 6 January 1993.

Andriessen retired after spending 25 years in national politics and became active in the private sector and public sector and became active in the private sector and public sector and occupied numerous seats as a corporate director and nonprofit director on several boards of directors and supervisory boards (Douwe Egberts, Robeco, Royal HaskoningDHV, DELA and the Institute of International Relations Clingendael) and as an advocate and lobbyist for Human rights, Humanitarianism, Democracy and for European integration. Andriessen also served as a distinguished professor of European integration at the Utrecht University from 1 March 1990 until 1 September 2009.

Andriessen was known for his abilities as a consensus builder and negotiator. Andriessen continued to comment on political affairs as an statesman until his is death at the age of 89 and holds the distinction as the second longest-serving European Commissioner from the Netherlands with 12 years, 0 days.

CareerEdit

 
Minister of Finance Frans Andriessen with the Budget Memorandum during Prinsjesdag at the Binnenhof on 19 September 1978.
 
Prime Minister Dries van Agt and Minister of Finance Frans Andriessen during a financial debate in the House of Representatives on 23 May 1979.

From 1958 to 1967 he sat in the provincial assembly, then was elected to the States-General (Parliament). In 1971 he was elected chairman of the Catholic People’s Party in the lower house. In 1977, he joined Dries van Agt’s centre-Right coalition as finance minister. He sought bigger cuts than his party would accept, and in February 1980 tendered his resignation, precipitating a Cabinet crisis that forced Queen Juliana to interrupt a holiday in Austria. The next month he took a seat in the upper house. [1]

Van Agt nominated him to the European Commission and Andriessen took up his post in January 1981. He secured the competition portfolio, targeting restrictive practices, with the vastly differing prices of new cars in member states a priority. But he came under fire from Socialist MEPs for blocking legislation on worker participation after objections from Shell and Unilever, and from British members for suggesting that Ravenscraig steelworks should be closed. With Gaston Thorn stepping down at the end of 1984 Andriessen was canvassed as a potential president of the Commission, but Jacques Delors had the big battalions behind him. Andriessen’s consolation was the vice-presidency and the agriculture portfolio, Brussels’ toughest. Within weeks he foiled a French attempt to build an EC “lamb mountain”.

Negotiating his first farm budget, the stumbling block was German insistence on higher payments to grow cereals; Andriessen complained that the Germans sided with the British on budgetary discipline, yet wanted him to spend more. Germany vetoed the budget after six attempts to agree it. Autumn 1985 brought the first of several “mutton wars” between Britain and France. Andriessen blamed Britain, accusing Michael Jopling, Minister of Agriculture, of disobeying an “order” to change export arrangements for sheep meat. When French farmers hijacked British lamb consignments, Andriessen suggested an export tax to offset the benefits to British exporters of a weak pound; the Commission overruled him. At the start of 1986 Andriessen recommended a general price freeze for the year. He got his way after a 21-hour negotiating session, and later persuaded member states to accept drastic cuts in milk production. His next target was grain surpluses, outlining a plan to cut production which introduced the concept of “set-aside”. This was adopted, but only after he blocked ministers’ efforts to sneak grain subsidies into other parts of the budget.

At the start of 1989, Andriessen took the external relations portfolio. The Uruguay Round of GATT talks was at the top of his agenda; as a free-trader he saw a faint hope of breaking the deadlock with America. He began by warning Japan that unless it opened its markets, the EC might refuse it licences for banking in Europe. He also told Britain that if it did not want to engage fully with Europe it could go back to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

The fall of the Berlin Wall that autumn gave Andriessen new priorities. He proposed a “European Economic Space”, enabling EFTA countries to participate in the single market, while opening the door to countries to the East. Within months, he was suggesting affiliate membership of the EC for former Communist satellites. France distrusted this, but the strategy was carried through, after a scare over whether Romania’s post-Ceaucescu government would allow fair elections.

Andriessen’s final two years in Brussels were dominated by the GATT talks. By 1992 he was claiming that the dispute now hinged on “a couple of million tons of European grain”. But that summer he accused America of “harassing” European steel producers for alleged dumping; then France demanded fresh concessions for its farmers. EC-US talks, with Andriessen and Leon Brittan leading for Europe, made no headway. Then farm subsidy negotiations collapsed, with the outgoing Bush administration blaming Europe; Andriessen promised “countermeasures”. Ireland’s Agriculture Commissioner Ray McSharry resigned, accusing Delors of going behind his back to sabotage an agreement. Delors faced mutiny from commissioners led by Andriessen and Brittan, who resolved to outvote him on GATT, if necessary forcing his resignation. He backed off, and McSharry returned.

On November 20 1992, Andriessen and his fellow negotiators finally concluded the GATT agreement on agriculture; the Commission ratified it despite French resistance. Andriessen left Brussels at the turn of the year confident that a full agreement ranging from textiles to intellectual property could be achieved – as it was, enabling the WTO to come into being.

Out of office, he was in demand as one of Europe’s “great and good”. This could bring him into trying company: at a symposium in Copenhagen in 1993 he was incandescent when Sir Alan Walters, Margaret Thatcher’s former economic adviser, suggested the Germans could put a portrait of Hitler on a single European currency.

Andriessen was Professor of European Integration at the Rijksuniversiteit, Utrecht, from 1989. He was a Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion, and held the Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau.

Personal lifeEdit

He married Catherine Ten Holter in 1955 ; she survives him with their four children.

DecorationsEdit

Honours
Ribbon bar Honour Country Date Comment
  Knight of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre Holy See 1972
  Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion Netherlands 15 May 1980
  Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour France 12 February 1982
  Grand Cross of the Order of Merit Germany 13 May 1983
  Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold II Belgium 15 December 1990
  Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau Netherlands 19 January 1993 Elevated from Officer (30 April 1969)

Honorary degreesEdit

Honorary degrees
University Field Country Date Comment
Utrecht University Law Netherlands 1992

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Obituaries, Telegraph (24 March 2019). "Frans Andriessen, Dutch politician and three-term European Commissioner who deftly navigated the era of 'mutton wars' and set-aside – obituary". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 26 March 2019.

External linksEdit

Official
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gerard Veringa
Parliamentary leader of the
Catholic People's Party
in the House of Representatives

1971–1977
Succeeded by
Office discontinued
Leader of the Catholic
People's Party

1971–1977
Preceded by
Gerard Veringa
1971
Lijsttrekker of the
Catholic People's Party

1972
Succeeded by
Office discontinued
Political offices
Preceded by
Wim Duisenberg
Minister of Finance
1977–1980
Succeeded by
Gijs van Aardenne
Ad interim
Preceded by
Henk Vredeling
European Commissioner
from the Netherlands

1981–1993
Succeeded by
Hans van den Broek