Dries van Agt

Dries van Agt
Queen's Commissioner of North Brabant
In office
June 1, 1983 – April 22, 1987
Monarch Beatrix
Preceded by Jan Dirk van der Harten
Succeeded by Frank Houben
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
September 16, 1982 – June 16, 1983
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
May 28, 1982 – November 4, 1982
Prime Minister Himself
Preceded by Max van der Stoel
Succeeded by Hans van den Broek
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
In office
December 19, 1977 – November 4, 1982
Monarch Juliana (1977-1980)
Beatrix (1980-1982)
Preceded by Joop den Uyl
Succeeded by Ruud Lubbers
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
June 8, 1977 – December 19, 1977
Parliamentary leader - Christian Democratic Appeal
House of Representatives
In office
May 26, 1977 – December 19, 1977
Preceded by First
Succeeded by Wim Aantjes
Deputy Prime Minister
In office
May 11, 1973 – September 8, 1977
Prime Minister Joop den Uyl
Preceded by Roelof Nelissen
Molly Geertsema
Succeeded by Wilhelm Friedrich de Gaay Fortman
Minister of Justice
In office
July 6, 1971 – September 8, 1977
Prime Minister Barend Biesheuvel (1971-1973)
Joop den Uyl (1973-1977)
Preceded by Carel Polak
Succeeded by Wilhelm Friedrich de Gaay Fortman
Personal details
Born Andreas Antonius Maria van Agt
February 2, 1931 (1931-02-02) (age 80)
Geldrop, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Political party Catholic People's Party (1971-1980)
Christian Democratic Appeal (from 1980)
Spouse(s) Eugenie Krekelberg
(born 1930)
Residence Nijmegen, Netherlands
Alma mater Radboud University Nijmegen
(LL.M.)
Ritsumeikan University
(Dr.h.c.)
Kwansei Gakuin University
(Dr.h.c.)
Hansung University
(Dr.h.c.)
University of South Carolina
(Dr.h.c.)
Occupation Politician
Diplomat
Civil servant
Lawyer
Jurist
Activist
Professor
Religion Roman Catholic
Website DriesvanAgt.nl

Andreas Antonius Maria "Dries" van Agt (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈdris fɑn ˈɑxt]; born February 2, 1931) is a retired Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from December 19, 1977, until November 4, 1982.

He previously served as Minister of Justice from July 6, 1971 until September 8, 1977 in the Cabinets Biesheuvel I, II and Den Uyl. And Deputy Prime Minister from May 11, 1973 until September 8, 1977 in the Cabinet Den Uyl. He resigned as Minister of Justice and Deputy Prime Minister to become the first Christian Democratic Appeal Party leader and the first Parliamentary leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal in the House of Representatives which he served from May 26, 1977 until December 19, 1977 and a Member of the House of Representatives from June 8, 1977 until December 19, 1977. Van Agt became Prime Minister of the Netherlands, leading the Cabinets Van Agt I, II and III. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs for his Third cabinet.

After his prime ministership, Van Agt became the Queen's Commissioner of North Brabant from June 1, 1983 April 22, 1987, he resigned as Queen's Commissioner because of criticism on his performance and his cooperation with the States-Provincial. After leaving North Brabant, he became a diplomat for the European Communities, serving first as ambassador to Japan from April 1, 1987 until April, 1 1989 when he became the ambassador to the United States until April 1, 1995.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Andreas Antonius Maria van Agt was born on February 2, 1931, in Geldrop in the Netherlands province of North Brabant. After receiving his diploma Gymnasium-A at the Augustinianum he studied at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, where he received his Doctorate in Law in 1955. After graduating, he practiced law in Eindhoven until 1957, after which he worked in the office of legal and business affairs of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries until 1962. From 1962 to 1968, he worked for the Ministry of Justice.

Politics

Dries van Agt as Minister of Justice in 1975.
Dries van Agt as Parliamentary leader of Christian Democratic Appeal in the House of Representatives in 1977.
Dries van Agt as Prime Minister of the Netherlands 1978.
Dries van Agt in 2010.

Van Agt entered politics as a member of the Catholic People's Party, which merged with the other two major Christian Democratic parties in 1980 to form the CDA. From 1968 to 1971, Van Agt was Professor of Criminal Law at the Catholic University of Nijmegen. From 1971 to 1973, he was Minister of Justice in the government of Barend Biesheuvel. He caused outrage when he tried to pardon the last three Nazi war criminals still in Dutch prisons in 1972. From 1973 to 1977 he was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice in the government of Joop den Uyl.

From December 1977 to November 1982, Dries van Agt was Prime Minister of the Netherlands in three successive governments. After the resignation of his government, he remained a member of the Dutch Parliament until 1983, when he was appointed as the Queen's Commissioner of the province North Brabant.

Dries van Agt served as Ambassador of the European Community to Japan from 1987 to 1989 and to the United States from 1989 to 1995. From 1995 to 1996, he was a Visiting Professor of International Relations at the University of Kyoto.

He is currently Prime Counsellor for the International Forum for Justice and Peace, a foundation under Dutch law, registered at the Chamber of Commerce in Amsterdam.[1] Chaired by retired international businessman Ben Smoes, they are currently focused on justice and peace in regard to the Israel/Palestine conflict.

Van Agt is known for his use of archaic language and complicated phrasing, as well as for his love for cycling.

On Arab–West understanding

Van Agt lectured in May 2006 in Cairo at the invitation of the Egyptian electronic magazine Arab-West Report about great changes in the cultural climate of north-western Europe in the past decades, becoming more hostile to religion, including Islam. Muslims, he argued, need to understand those changes in order to be able to respond better to European criticism on Islam and the Muslim world.[2]

Van Agt has also spoken against the Council of State in Egypt for continuous delay in granting the Center for Arab West Understanding (CAWU) the NGO status. He met with prominent figures in Egypt to persuade them to do so.[3] The Egyptian Council of State, after van Agt's visit to Cairo in 2006, ruled on February 18, 2007 that the Center for Arab-West Understanding (CAWU) should be recognized as an NGO under Egyptian law, ending its three-year struggle to obtain this status. Egypt is known for its reluctance in granting NGO status in order to discourage political participation. Cornelis Hulsman, a Dutch sociologist, the editor-in-chief of Arab-West Report, and the head of CAWU, stated that van Agt's effort significantly impacted the realization of their goals, which usually requires a lengthy amount of time and scrutiny in its political purposes.[4]

On the Middle East and Dutch involvement in the Iraq War

For some years he has taken an outspoken stance regarding the Middle East, resulting in a fierce criticism of the policies undertaken by the government of Israel with regard to the Palestinians. When in office, van Agt was a staunch supporter of Israel, but after he stepped down in 1982 he changed his mind.[5] He has accused Israel of "state terrorism" and turning the Palestinian Authority territories into "bantustans".[6]

On 30 March 2007, Van Agt claimed on the Dutch radio show Argos that the new Dutch cabinet was 'muzzling' parliament with its decision to block an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Dutch involvement in the Iraq war.

He urged fellow party member and prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende not to stand in the way of the debate.

Decorations

  • Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Oranje-Nassau (1982)
  • Honorary medal for Initiative and Ingenuity of the Order of the House of Orange (1974)
  • Honorary Medal of the province North Brabant
  • Honorary citizenship of the city Geldrop
  • Honorary citizenship of the city Lille (France)

References

  1. ^ http://www.just-peace.org/sitemanager.asp?pid=13
  2. ^ For the full text of his lecture, entitled, “Cultures between Clash and Reconciliation: The Role of the Media and Academia,” see AWR, 2006, week 53, art. 3
  3. ^ http://www.arabwestreport.info/?q=node/13925 (art. 03, 32 - 2006 of Arab West Report)
  4. ^ http://www.arabwestreport.info/?q=node/15437(art. 02, 50 - 2006 of Arab West Report)
  5. ^ http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/former-dutch-pm-champions-palestinian-cause
  6. ^ http://www.haaretz.com/news/dutch-jimmy-carter-accuses-israel-of-terrorism-in-new-book-1.248633

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
First
Party leader
Christian Democratic Appeal

1976-1982
Succeeded by
Ruud Lubbers
Preceded by
First
Parliamentary leaderChristian Democratic Appeal
House of Representatives

1977
Succeeded by
Wim Aantjes
Government offices
Preceded by
Carel Polak
Minister of Justice
1971-1977
Succeeded by
Wilhelm Friedrich de Gaay Fortman
Preceded by
Joop den Uyl
Minister of General Affairs
1977-1982
Succeeded by
Ruud Lubbers
Preceded by
Max van der Stoel
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1982
Succeeded by
Hans van den Broek
Political offices
Preceded by
Joop den Uyl
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
1977-1982
Succeeded by
Ruud Lubbers
Preceded by
Jan Dirk van der Harten
Queen's Commissioner of North Brabant
1983-1987
Succeeded by
Frank Houben

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