The Prime minister of the netherlands en route to a showdown with the EU

Le Premier ministre néerlandais en route vers un bras de fer avec l’UE

If Mark Rutte can often be spotted pedaling his bicycle with a determination joyful in the streets of The Hague, the Dutch Prime minister is best known in Europe for its brake are repeated on the economic issues.

In power for nearly a decade, the liberal leader of the 53-year-old has an image of person, modest, honest, and resonates with the values of the Dutch.

Never married, he lives in the same apartment that he bought after graduating, drove a Saab used when it is not moving on the bike and teaches civics as a volunteer in a college.

Character cheerful the profile lanky, Mark Rutte has strong allies who have helped him form three coalition governments, in a political landscape Dutch sometimes fragmented.

But his side saving leads to a new round of negotiations with the european Union, on the occasion of an extraordinary summit on 17 and 18 July on a stimulus package of 750 billion euros following the pandemic of Covid-19.

In Brussels, Mark Rutte is often seen as easier to identify than it actually is.

“It is able to be a sort of chameleon,” says Pepijn Bergsen, a researcher in a programme on Europe at Chatham House, a policy institute based in London. “It is said always that it shapes his or her opinion based on the consensus prevailing in the room “, he explains to AFP.

“The vicar over-caffeinated “

Mark Rutte, called “the vicar over-caffeinated” by the magazine The Economist, portrays an image of open-minded energetic, while remaining very discreet about his private life.

This last of a family of seven children, who has always lived at The Hague, describes himself as ” a man of habit and tradition “.

Dreaming first of a career as a pianist, he studied and finally the story, before becoming director of human resources at the giant Unilever.

Displaying a personality affable, which conceals the instincts of political sharp, Mr. Rutte becomes the leader of the liberal-conservative VVD in 2006, before being elected Prime minister four years later.

It has sometimes been accused of going after the votes, as well as when it has hardened its policy on immigration in the parliamentary elections of 2017, while the member of parliament for the far-right Geert Wilders was gaining ground.

More recently, his “containment” smart in the face of new coronavirus has earned him the praise of his fellow citizens.

“It has always been, it is this perception of being a personality of a leader competent,” said Mr. Bergsen, a former adviser for economic policy of the Dutch government.

“Not made of marzipan “

Mark Rutte has also managed his personal image with a lot of care, with videos showing it getting on his bike to meet foreign leaders become viral.

In full pandemic, it is folded to measures against the Covid-19 and has not been able to visit his mother during the last few weeks preceding his death.

On the international scene, Mr Rutte cultivates his outspokenness. It was particularly noted during a visit to Washington, d.c., in 2018, by interrupting Donald Trump with a ” no “solved, after which the american president has stated that do not reach a trade agreement with the EU would be” positive “.

Its firm stance on the migration crisis in Europe and that of the Greek debt in the years 2010 also has annoyed some member States.

It is now regarded as the leader informal of the four countries “frugal” – the netherlands, Austria, Denmark, and Sweden – who oppose the stimulus package of the EU following the crisis of the novel coronavirus.

The role of a “villain” that he is not enjoyed without not doubt, note with the AFP a diplomat of the netherlands in Brussels, considered that Mr Rutte ” prefers to be seen as someone who improves things “.

Several leaders, including French president Emmanuel Macron and Prime ministers, Italian and Spanish, went with haste to The Hague in recent weeks, in the hope of moving the negotiations forward.

Asked about how he faced the pressure, Mr. Rutte had immediately replied, ” not to be made of marzipan “.

Mr. Bergsen the “suspects” now run for a fourth term as Prime minister in the next election in march 2021, its inflexibility can make it difficult reconversion within one of the key positions of the EU.

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