Dutch politicians react to former PM Lubbers' death

Ruud Lubbers
Ruud Lubbers. Photo: Sebastiaan ter Burg / Wikimedia Commons

Former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers . He was in poor health for some time, a spokesperson for the 78-year-old CDA politician said. While other politicians knew that Lubbers was not doing well, they are still shocked by his death.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte called Lubbers a statesman with international allure. "As the Prime Minister of my youth, he guided our country through the difficult 80's", Rutte said, according to ANP. "With his broad knowledge, experience and his tireless creativity, he managed to find a solution for every problem." The current Prime Minister added: "In a time that was full of international tensions, he gave the Netherlands an international face. He was appreciated far beyond our national borders."

Former Prime Minister Wim Kok (PvdA), who worked in a coalition with Lubbers for five years, described him as a cordial man of mutual respect, who was always open to consultation. He  knew that Lubbers was struggling with health problems, he told Radio 1. "It made me very sad and has deeply touched me. I had a lot of years with him and got to know him as someone who is open to the opinion of others."

Former CDA Prime Minister Dries van Agt also knew that Lubbers wasn't doing well. "Who did not know that? But that the end of his life would come so quickly, I could not have imagined", Van Agt said to Nieuwsuur. "I was very shocked." Van Agt praised his successor. "What stood out from day 1 was the level of his intelligence. That was remarkably high. I did not reach his level. And that boundless energy."

Other prominent CDA members also reacted to Lubbers death. CDA leader Sybrand Buma described the former Prime Minister as a "great statesman and convinced Christian democrat". "The Netherlands is very grateful to Lubbers for the bold and skillful way in which he piloted our country from the deep crisis of the 80's", Buma said, according to the Telegraaf.

CDA party chairman Ruth Peetoom: "Ruud Lubbers was a great prime minister, the longest serving prime minister in the Netherlands. A special politician who connected worlds with each other. An entrepreneur in politics, idealistic and pragmatic, intellectual and hands on, Catholic in the polder, always ready to think along with you."

The CDA is grateful to Lubbers, the party said in a statement. "We are very sad about his death and will miss him very much."

Ruud Lubbers was not only an amazing national and international politician, but also a "born and raised Rotterdammer, with a big heart for the port, the city and his own neighborhood Kralingen", Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said to AD. "Ruud Lubbers was an amiable person and I learned a lot from his wise lessons", the mayor said. "I spoke to him regularly over the past few years, for the last time a few months ago. Until the last he worked for a prosperous and future-proof city. The Netherlands loses a great statesman and the city a special, committed Rotterdammer."

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