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Stephanus Abraham "Stef" Blok (born 10 December 1964) is a Dutch politician serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Third Rutte cabinet since 7 March 2018. He is a member of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).[1][2]


Stef Blok
Stef Blok 2015 (1).jpg
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
7 March 2018
Prime MinisterMark Rutte
Preceded bySigrid Kaag (Acting)
Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
In office
29 June 2016 – 16 September 2016
Ad interim
Prime MinisterMark Rutte
Preceded byRonald Plasterk
Succeeded byRonald Plasterk
Minister of Security and Justice
In office
27 January 2017 – 26 October 2017
Prime MinisterMark Rutte
Preceded byArd van der Steur
Succeeded byFerdinand Grapperhaus
In office
10 March 2015 – 20 March 2015
Acting
Prime MinisterMark Rutte
Preceded byIvo Opstelten
Succeeded byArd van der Steur
Minister for Housing and the Central Government Sector
In office
5 November 2012 – 27 January 2017
Prime MinisterMark Rutte
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in the House of Representatives
In office
8 October 2010 – 20 September 2012
Preceded byMark Rutte
Succeeded byMark Rutte
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
3 September 2002 – 5 November 2012
In office
25 August 1998 – 23 May 2002
Personal details
Born
Stephanus Abraham Blok

(1964-12-10) 10 December 1964 (age 54)
Emmeloord, Netherlands
NationalityDutch
Political partyPeople's Party for Freedom and Democracy
Children1 son
EducationUniversity of Groningen (BBA, MBA)
WebsiteGovernment website

An accountant by occupation, Blok served as a member of the House of Representatives from 25 August 1998 until 23 May 2002 and from 3 September 2002 until 5 November 2012. After the election of 2010 the Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives Mark Rutte became Prime Minister in the First Rutte cabinet with Blok chosen to succeed him as parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives serving from 8 October 2010 until 20 September 2012. Following the election of 2012 Blok was asked to become Minister for Housing and the Central Government Sector in the Second Rutte cabinet taking office on 5 November 2012. Blok served as Acting Minister of Security and Justice from 10 March 2015 until 20 March 2015 following the resignation of Ivo Opstelten and ad interim Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations from 29 June 2016 until 16 September 2016 during a sick-leave of Ronald Plasterk.

On 27 January 2017, Minister of Security and Justice Ard van der Steur resigned to avoid a vote of no confidence, Blok was appointed to serve out the remainder of his term and subsequently resigned as Minister for Housing and the Central Government Sector the same day. He did not stand for the election of 2017 and announced his retirement. Following the resignation of Halbe Zijlstra as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Third Rutte cabinet on 13 February 2018, Blok was nominated to succeed him taking office on 7 March 2018.[3]

BiographyEdit

Early lifeEdit

Stephanus Abraham Blok was born on 10 December 1964 in Emmeloord, now in the Province of Flevoland. After attending Stedelijk Gymnasium Leiden, he studied Business Administration at the University of Groningen from 1977 until 1983 and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration and an M.S. in Business Administration degree. Blok worked for ABN AMRO as a credit broker and later as a branch manager from 1989 until 1998.

He was a member of the municipal council of Nieuwkoop from 1994 to 1998.

One of his ancestors was J.F.A. Dligoor, an engineer working in Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in building Prijetan dam in Lamongan, East Java and who was buried in the country.[4]

PoliticsEdit

Blok served as Acting Minister of Security and Justice after the resignation of Ivo Opstelten from 10 March until 20 March 2015 while retaining his other cabinet position.[5][6] He resigned as Minister for Housing and the Central Government Sector on 27 January 2017 to hold the title of Minister of Security and Justice in a full position until 26 October 2017, following the resignation of Ard van der Steur.[7] Blok also served as Acting Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations from 29 June to 16 September 2016 while Ronald Plasterk underwent surgery. After his term as justice minister, Blok announced his plans to leave politics.[8]

Following the resignation of Halbe Zijlstra as Minister of Foreign Affairs on 13 February 2018, Blok was selected to succeed him.[9]

ControversyEdit

In July 2018, Blok expressed criticism of multiculturalism and argued that black African migrants could not be resettled in Eastern Europe because they would be beaten up, during a meeting that was later telecast on Zembla:[10][11][12][13]

"Give me an example, of a multiethnic or multicultural society, where the original population are still living as well. [...] And where there are peaceful community relations. I am not aware of any."

An audience member suggested Suriname.

"Suriname peaceful? A functioning rule of law and democracy? Courageous, this remark. So the parties in Suriname are not divided by their ethnicity? [...] I admire your optimism. Suriname is a failed state and that is very much linked to its ethnic composition.”

One audience member suggested Singapore was a successful multi-ethnic society and Blok responded that Singapore is a “small mini-country,” which is “extremely selective in its migration” and does not allow poor immigrants except "maybe for cleaning."[14]

His remarks led to the Government of Suriname to demand an apology and the island-government of Curacao, part of the Dutch Kingdom, to distance itself from the minister's remarks.[15] The latter responded to the minister's remarks by stating:

"Minister Blok's expressions are not representative of the reality in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. On the contrary. In our view the Curacao multicultural society reflects a better picture of norms and values, such as justice, tolerance and freedom, which we share within the Kingdom."[15]

In Suriname, both the government and the opposition opposed the idea that Suriname is a failed state due to its ethnic diversity. It prompted Chandrikapersad Santokhi of the opposition Progressive Reform Party to respond:

"That Suriname under this government has become a country that some refer to as a ‘failed state’ is not due to its multicultural composition. Suriname is faced with a lack of good governance and unrestrained corruption."[10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Stef Blok nieuwe minister van Buitenlandse Zaken" (in Dutch). NOS. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Stef Blok wordt minister van Buitenlandse Zaken" (in Dutch). RTL Nieuws. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  3. ^ "'VVD'er Stef Blok volgt Halbe Zijlstra op als minister van Buitenlandse Zaken'" (in Dutch). NU.nl. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  4. ^ http://suryamalang.tribunnews.com/2018/07/04/ketika-menlu-belanda-ziarah-leluhur-di-area-waduk-waduk-prijetan-lamongan
  5. ^ (in Dutch) Minister Blok neemt Veiligheid en Justitie er even bij, NU.nl, 10 March 2015.
  6. ^ (in Dutch) Stef Blok fractievoorzitter VVD, RTLNieuws, 6 October 2010.
  7. ^ "Ontslagaanvraag minister en staatssecretaris van Veiligheid en Justitie" [Resignation minister and state secretary of Security and Justice]. koninklijkhuis.nl (in Dutch). King's Office. 27 January 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  8. ^ Toby Sterling (March 5, 2018), Dutch gov't. names former justice minister Blok as new foreign minister Reuters.
  9. ^ "Stef Blok nieuwe minister Buitenlandse Zaken" (in Dutch). Telegraaf. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  10. ^ a b Kuipers, Ank. "Suriname leaders slam Dutch minister over 'failed state' comments".
  11. ^ "Dutch foreign minister: Migrants would be 'beaten up' in Eastern Europe". 19 July 2018.
  12. ^ "Peaceful multicultural societies don't exist, Dutch FM says". 18 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Dutch FM "regrets" contentious anti-multiculturalism statements". 19 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Analysis - Dutch foreign minister says multicultural societies breed violence". Washington Post.
  15. ^ a b "Curacao distances itself from Dutch FM's multiculturalism statements; Suriname demands apology". 20 July 2018.

External linksEdit

Official
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mark Rutte
Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in the House of Representatives
2010–2012
Succeeded by
Mark Rutte
Political offices
New office Minister for Housing and the Central Government Sector
2012–2017
Position abolished
Preceded by
Ivo Opstelten
Minister of Security and Justice
Acting

2015
Succeeded by
Ard van der Steur
Preceded by
Ronald Plasterk
Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
Acting

2016
Succeeded by
Ronald Plasterk
Preceded by
Ard van der Steur
Minister of Security and Justice
2017
Succeeded by
Ferdinand Grapperhaus
Preceded by
Sigrid Kaag
Acting
Minister of Foreign Affairs
2018–present
Incumbent