The Netherlands has missed out countless opportunities to wield influence in the European Union. According to ING Bank CEO Jan Hommen the lobbying activities of the Dutch government have been below par over the past few years.
In an interview with daily NRC Handelsblad on Saturday, Hommen said that when discussing Dutch issues with Eurocommissioner Neelie Kroes she once told him, "I'm seeing you, but hardly anybody else". Other countries have a much better presence in the corridors of European power, Hommen said, although the current caretaker PM, Mark Rutte, "has risen to the challenge".
Jan Hommen was asked to head ING Bank after it was saved by huge state bailouts in 2008 and 2009. Owing to its dominant market position, ING has been ordered by the European Commission to split up into separate companies. Brussels is not happy with ING's responses. The Dutch government is not really helping ING in Brussels, Hommen said.
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