Stef Blok

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His Excellency
Stef Blok
Stef Blok 2015 (1).jpg
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
7 March 2018
Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Preceded by Sigrid Kaag (Acting)
Minister of Security and Justice
In office
27 January 2017 – 26 October 2017
Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Preceded by Ard van der Steur
Succeeded by Ferdinand Grapperhaus
In office
10 March 2015 – 20 March 2015
Acting
Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Preceded by Ivo Opstelten
Succeeded by Ard van der Steur
Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
In office
29 June 2016 – 16 September 2016
Acting
Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Preceded by Ronald Plasterk
Succeeded by Ronald Plasterk
Minister for Housing and the Central Government Sector
In office
5 November 2012 – 27 January 2017
Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Position 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 by Mark Rutte
Succeeded by Mark 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 53)
Emmeloord, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Political party People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
Children 1
Alma mater University of Groningen (BBA, MS)

Stephanus Abraham "Stef" Blok (born 10 December 1964) is a Dutch politician of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs since 7 March 2018.[1][2][3]

Blok served as a member of the House of Representatives from 25 August 1998 until 23 May 2002, and again from 3 September 2002 until 5 November 2012. He became the parliamentary leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in the House of Representatives on 8 October 2010, his predecessor Mark Rutte becoming Prime Minister of the Netherlands. On 5 November 2012 he became Minister for Housing and the Central Government Sector in the Second Rutte cabinet.

Biography

Early life

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.

Politics

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.[4][5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

Following the resignation of Halbe Zijlstra as Minister of Foreign Affairs on 13 February 2018, Blok was selected to succeed him.[8]

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:[9][10][11][12]

"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."[13]

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.[14] 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."[14]

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."[9]

References

  1. ^ (in Dutch) "Stef Blok nieuwe minister van Buitenlandse Zaken". NOS. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018. 
  2. ^ (in Dutch) "Stef Blok wordt minister van Buitenlandse Zaken". RTL Nieuws. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018. 
  3. ^ (in Dutch) "'VVD'er Stef Blok volgt Halbe Zijlstra op als minister van Buitenlandse Zaken'". NU.nl. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018. 
  4. ^ (in Dutch) Minister Blok neemt Veiligheid en Justitie er even bij, NU.nl, 10 March 2015.
  5. ^ (in Dutch) Stef Blok fractievoorzitter VVD, RTLNieuws, 6 October 2010.
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ Toby Sterling (March 5, 2018), Dutch gov't. names former justice minister Blok as new foreign minister Reuters.
  8. ^ (in Dutch) "Stef Blok nieuwe minister Buitenlandse Zaken". Telegraaf. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018. 
  9. ^ a b Kuipers, Ank. "Suriname leaders slam Dutch minister over 'failed state' comments". 
  10. ^ "Dutch foreign minister: Migrants would be 'beaten up' in Eastern Europe". 19 July 2018. 
  11. ^ "Peaceful multicultural societies don't exist, Dutch FM says". 18 July 2018. 
  12. ^ "Dutch FM "regrets" contentious anti-multiculturalism statements". 19 July 2018. 
  13. ^ "Analysis - Dutch foreign minister says multicultural societies breed violence". Washington Post. 
  14. ^ a b "Curacao distances itself from Dutch FM's multiculturalism statements; Suriname demands apology". 20 July 2018. 

External links

Media related to Stef Blok at Wikimedia Commons

Official
  • (in Dutch) Drs. S.A. (Stef) Blok Parlement & Politiek
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mark Rutte
Parliamentary leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
in the House of Representatives

2010–2012
Succeeded by
Mark Rutte
Political offices
Preceded by
Office established
Minister for Housing and the Central Government Sector
2012–2017
Succeeded by
Office discontinued
Preceded by
Ivo Opstelten
Minister of Security and Justice
2015
Succeeded by
Ard van der Steur
Preceded by
Ronald Plasterk
Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
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
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