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Jakob Gijsbert "Jaap" de Hoop Scheffer ( , born 3 April 1948) is a Dutchmarker politician and a former NATOmarker Secretary General. De Hoop Scheffer served as the Dutch foreign minister, and was an important figure in the Dutch decision to participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In 2004, De Hoop Scheffer was chosen as the 11th NATO Secretary General, which he remained until 2009.

Life and career

Born in Amsterdammarker, De Hoop Scheffer graduated with an LLM from Leiden University in 1974. After completing military service in the air force, where he became a reserve officer, he worked for the ministry of foreign affairs from 1976 to 1986. For the first two years, he was stationed at the Dutch embassy in Ghanamarker. After that, he worked at the Dutch delegation at NATOmarker headquarters in Brusselsmarker until 1980.

Although he has been a member of the D66 party, he became a member of the Christen-Democratisch Appèl (CDA) in 1982. At the elections of 1986, he was elected to the House of Representativesmarker. He was a spokesman on foreign affairs for his party. Between 1997 and 2001, he was the leader of the CDA delegation in the House of Representatives, at a time when the CDA was in opposition. This made him the party leader.

When the list of candidates for the 2002 elections was chosen, his position as the party leader of the CDA became uncertain. After a power struggle with the party chairman Van Rij, De Hoop Scheffer resigned as party leader. Jan Peter Balkenende succeeded him, and had the top spot on the CDA list of candidates in the elections on 15 May 2002.

Foreign Minister

The CDA won in those elections and played the leading role in the formation of a new coalition government. The new prime minister Balkenende appointed De Hoop Scheffer as foreign minister in his short-lived first cabinet, a position he retained in the second Balkenende cabinet after the elections of 22 January 2003.In 2003, the foreign policy of the Netherlands was largely determined by De Hoop Scheffer and Balkenende. Its main foreign policy decision was to contribute to Operation Iraqi Freedom, although its formulation ("political" but not "military" support) gave it an ambivalent character. However, 1,100 Dutch servicemen were deployed as part of the Stabilisation Force Iraq in the southern province of Al Muthannamarker from 2003 till 2005, and two of them were killed in action.

In 2003 Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was also the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

NATO Secretary General

became the 11th NATOmarker Secretary General on 5 January 2004, succeeding Lord Robertson, who held the post from 1999 until 2003. The announcement was made on 22 September 2003. As Secretary General, De Hoop Scheffer urged NATO members to contribute more to NATO operations such as the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer attended the economic conference in Montrealmarker, Canada on 21 June 2007, where he encouraged Canada to continue its military mission in Afghanistanmarker past its 2009 withdrawal date. He said, "I think more time is necessary to create those conditions for reconstruction and development to go on." His visit coincided with the death of three more Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. "I know how dramatic it is if Canadian soldiers pay the highest price, but I still say, you are there for a good cause." De Hoop Scheffer's comments were made as the Canadian government was under pressure by opposition politicians to define the length of Canada's commitment to the mission in Afghanistan.

On July 21, 2009 De Hoop Scheffer suffered a heart attack. He underwent angioplasty after which he was reported to be in stable condition.

His successor, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, took office on 1 August 2009.

On September 1st 2009 De Hoop Scheffer was appointed to the Pieter Kooijmans Chair for Peace, Law and Security at Leiden University. The appointment is part-time, and the holder of this chair is appointed for a maximum of three years. De Hoop Scheffer will focus on issues in the area of peace, law and security and will also lecture in the field of international politics and the practice of diplomacy.


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