Interactive masterclass with Gerrit Zalm for PPE students

Gerrit Zalm is a VU-alumnus, former VU professor in economic governmental policy, Dutch Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economic Affairs, Minister of Finance, Director at ABN AMRO and later CEO and Chairman at ABN AMRO Group until his retirement a year ago.

09/21/2018 | 1:10 PM

On Wednesday 19 September, Gerrit Zalm came to speak about his experiences as an informateur during the recent Dutch cabinet formation, his work as a Finance Minister, and his roles in the financial sector. A room packed with PPE students had the opportunity to ask questions.

Mr. Zalm was very open about his challenging job as a Finance Minister . He related how in 1994 the new cabinet was installed during the last week of August, which meant that only one week later he had to present the National Budget. That week turned out to be his busiest but also best week ever, because while his fellow ministers were still orienting themselves, he was able to define the budgetary policies for years to come. Being asked what the working day of a minister looked like, Zalm answered: “During the day I had many meetings and hardly any time to read documents. I did my readings in the evening. When I found some time during the day, I used to turn on my game console. As a Finance minister I spent a lot of time gaming..”

180921 Gerrit Zalm bij PPE Tekst

The students were highly interested in his role as informateur during the latest Dutch cabinet formation. Zalm shortly described how a formation process works and how experts discuss various complex and sensitive issues at different tables. His most important task was to find agreement between the four negotiating parties, which turned out to be much more difficult than mediating between only two or three parties. The meeting proved to be inspirational for many of our PPE students.