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Wim Kok

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Wim Kok
Wim Kok
September 29 1938
Predecessor:
Ruud Lubbers
Prime Minister
1994-2002
Succeeded by
Jan Peter
Balkenende
Prime Minister of the Netherlands

Wim Kok (b. September 29, 1938) was Prime Minister of The Netherlands from 1994 until 2002.

Life and career

Wim Kok (legally Willem Kok) was born in Bergambacht, The Netherlands. After completing his study at the Nyenrode business school in the Netherlands, he started his career in 1961 at the socialist trade union of the Netherlands, where he was chairman from 1973 until 1986.

In 1986 he succeeded Joop den Uyl as leader of the social democratic party PvdA (Partij van de Arbeid, Labour Party). From 1989 until 1994 he was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in a cabinet with the christian democratic party CDA (Christen Democratisch Appèl).

In 1994, he became Prime Minister in a cabinet with the liberal party VVD (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie, People's Party for Freedom and Democracy) and the progressive liberal D'66. This Cabinet goes under the name of Kok I. This "Purple" coalition was the first in decades to form a government without the CDA. After the elections in 1998 he led a second government with the same partners, Kok II.

During most of Kok's time as Prime Minister, the Netherlands was booming economically and Kok was credited internationally for the Dutch "Polder Model". This same "polder model" went out of fashion early 2002, which saw the rise of Pim Fortuyn, the right-wing populist political newcomer who was shot and died shortly before the May 2002 elections. Confused masses blamed Kok and his Purple coalition for being responsible for 'demonising' Pim Fortuyn, which supposedly led to his assassination.

After surviving this commotion, his cabinet fell just weeks before the May 2002 elections when Kok and all his ministers stepped down because of the discussion about the possible Dutch responsibility in the Srebrenica massacre. He left dutch politics after the election, as he had already announced the year before, but that does not mean his political life has ended. Like many who's official political career has ended, he continues to influence politics.

He was succeeded as leader of the Partij van de Arbeid by Ad Melkert, who then lost the 2002 election.

At present, Wim Kok holds the following positions:

  • Member of the Supervisory Board of ING Group (international financial services)
  • Member of the Supervisory Board of Royal Dutch/Shell oil company
  • Member of the Supervisory Board of TPG NV (international postal company with dutch origin)
  • Member of the Supervisory Board of KLM (airline)

Between April and November 2004, Mr. Kok headed up a review of the Lisbon Agenda and presented a report of the Lisbon strategy containing suggestions on how to give new impetus to the Lisbon process. The Commission used this report declare that the social and environmental parts are not a priority anymore and declared a restart of the Lisbon Agenda under the economic terms only.

The group comprised 12 figures representing different Stakeholder groups. Among these are Anne-Marie Idrac, chair of RATP, the Paris public transport system, and a former Transport Minister; Will Hutton, governor of the London School of Economics and chief executive of the Works Foundation; and Niall Fitzgerald, chair of Unilever and co-chair of the Transatlantic Business Dialogue, an Lobby organisation known to be put into live to represent US-american interests in Europe.

Kok now lobbies for the Lisbon Strategy of the European Commission [1] (http://www.elta.lt/zinute_pr.php?inf_id=408011)

See also

fr:Wim Kok nl:Wim Kok pl:Wim Kok sv:Wim Kok

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