Student - December 1, 2011

'Mark Rutte is an extremely nice person'

‘Mark Rutte is an extremely nice person'
Who? Roy Weizhi He, second year Environmental Sciences student from China.
What? Had a chance to talk to Mark Rutte during the latter's visit to Wageningen.
Why? Preferred to talk about football than about politics.

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What did you say to the prime minister?
‘When he asked me why I had come to Wageningen to study, I told him that I was a fan of Ajax since I was five. He burst out laughing and asked if I preferred Van Gaal or Cruijff. Well, it had to be Van Gaal; Cruijff is too old and too bossy.'
Didn't you have a more serious question than that?
‘I presume that things happen for a reason. If the prime minister had wanted to get down to business, he would have done that behind closed doors. This was a visit for public relations, so it was just about meeting one another. It was a performance, a show, and that was why I didn't have an agenda. Anyway, football is always a good subject.'
What have you learned?
‘Politicians in China are not so good at image building. They don't come across as nice people. Mark Rutte is an extremely nice person, open and especially well-trained in communicating. This experience has taught me how you can stay friendly and still firmly defend your policies.'

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