Bert Koenders (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons) - Credit: Bert Koenders (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons)
Tuesday, February 9, 2016 - 10:31
Dutch Foreign Min. takes 239 questions in Reddit AMA
Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs participated in a Reddit AMA, or Ask Me Anything, on Monday. For 30 minutes, anyone could ask him anything they wanted and he answered as many questions as he could. Koenders is the first Dutch politician to participate in an AMA. He did so at the request of the Open State Foundation in connection with the Netherlands term as President of the European Union. The Minster had a total of 239 questions put to him. In 30 minutes he could not get to all questions. He did not answer any questions Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), annoying a number of Reddit users. He also did not answer questions about radar images of the MH17 disaster. Here follows some of the questions he did manage to get to a fair number of them. One Reddit user asked him how he would increase democratic accountability in the European Union. Koenders answered: "The European Union can become much more transparent and democratic. Proposals are being made to strengthen the role of national parliaments, to use methods like yellow and green cards, to be much more transparent on negotiations and to open up lobby registers. So that people know what is going on, have much more influence, and know who is talking to the powerbrokers." Another person asked why we should vote yes to the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement in the upcoming referendum, taking place on April 6th. "Many reasons!" Koenders answered. "It is good for the Dutch and Ukrainian people, helps stability on our eastern borders, creates economic opportunities and mutual trade, supports programs to fight corruption and work together on issues like the trafficking of weapons etc. It is NOT the first step to EU Membership. This referendum is a new democratic instrument and I hope many will vote YES." On how to handle green innovation in Europe, Koenders answered: "Markets and Governments, Civil Society and startups all have a role to play. The era of fossil fuel is definitely over after the historic agreement in Paris. The energy union in Europe has a critical role to play in this transformation." Not all questions were politically relevant or very serious for that matter. "Minister Koenders, would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?" one Reddit user asked. The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs answered: "At the end of the day a military solution will not solve the problem against duck horses or horse ducks. What we need is a political process!" He would also rather eat a Bossche Bol tan a stroopwafel.