Former agriculture minister Gerrit Braks dies at age 84

Gerrit Braks during his time as Minister, December 1984
Gerrit Braks during his time as Minister, December 1984. Photo: Fotocollectie Nationaal Archief / Wikimedia Commons

Former Minister and Senate chairman Gerrit Braks died at the age of 84, his family and his political party, CDA, confirmed on Wednesday afternoon, ANP reports.

Braks worked for 10 years on his family's farm before becoming an agricultural advisor and politician. He was the Agriculture Minister of the Netherlands for eight years, between 1982 and 1990. He stepped down after coalition partner PvdA declared no confidence against him due to fishing fraud. At the time there were suspicious that fishermen caught more than they were allowed, and the PvdA felt that Braks' ministry had to little supervision on the matter, according to NOS.

As Minister, Braks also dealt with environmental problems caused by too much manure. He played a big part in forming a plan on how to deal with this, and that plan later determined the Dutch manure policy. He also had difficult negotiations in Brussels about European agreements on agriculture and fisheries.

Braks was a firm supporter of the European Union, according to NOS. Being born in 1933, he lived through World War II as a child. He felt that disagreements in Europe can never again be allowed to escalate further than a negotiation table. 

After stepping down as Minister, Braks was chairman of the KRO between 1991 and 1996. He was also a senator for the CDA between 1991 and 2003, the last two years of which he was chairman of the Eerste Kamer. 

In 2007 and 2008 he was acting mayor of Eindhoven.