Economic Affairs minister steps aside for 3 months over burnout
The Dutch caretaker Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate, Bas van 't Wout, will be unable to fulfill his duties for a period of at least three months due to a burnout diagnosis, the government stated. He will be replaced by Stef Blok, who is currently serving as a country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Sigrid Kaag, the current caretaker Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, will take over Blok’s portfolio during Van ‘t Wout’s absence.
A package of coronavirus support measures Van ‘t Wout helped arrange was expected to be publicly presented on Tuesday
Due to the size of the portfolio of the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, an additional state secretary will also be appointed at this ministry, the government announced. Considered a deputy role to the minister, the newly appointed secretary will be responsible for the climate and energy portfolio for the remainder of the caretaker period. This role will be filled by the VVD political party led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
The government information office RVD said the secretary will be named as soon as possible.
Van ‘t Wout, 42, was tapped as minister to succeed Eric Wiebes who resigned amid the childcare benefits scandal. He assumed office on January 20. Prior to that, Van ‘t Wout spent six months as the State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment, replacing Tamara van Ark when she became the Minister for Medical Care.
Van Ark was the permanent successor to Bruno Bruins, who was so overworked he collapsed in the Tweede Kamer during a parliamentary debate.
Van ‘t Wout also served as a city council member in Amsterdam, a political aide to Rutte, and the VVD vice-chair.