Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs: ‘The Economy Is a Part of Culture’
On March 14th students, teachers and staff of the HSE met the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Uri Rosenthal. The lecture was addressed primarily to the students and was broadcast to all HSE regional branches. Thanks to video conference facilities, HSE students from Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Perm had the opportunity not only to watch and listen to the speech, but also to ask questions to the minister after the lecture.
Lev Yakobson, First Vice Rector of the HSE, welcomed the guests and said: ‘It is a special honour and pleasure for us to welcome here in the Higher School of Economics Professor Uri Rosenthal who, prior to taking the high position of the Minister of foreign affairs, taught at the universities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam for many years. The Higher School of Economics established partnerships with these educational and research centers of the Netherlands in the first years of our work. The Tempus programme of the Rotterdam University has played a very important role in the creation and development of the academic and educational potential of the HSE, and today we are united by the double degree programmes in economics, management and programme engineering. Many HSE professors and researchers work in close collaboration with leading Dutch scientists. This visit of Mr. Uri Rosenthal to the Higher School of Economics is a new step towards broadening the cooperation and further development of partner relations between our countries, research centers and universities’.
Uri Rosenthal gave a brief overview of the bilateral negotiations with Minister Sergey Lavrov and drew the meeting participants’ attention to the decision to organise the Year of the Netherlands in Russia and the Year of Russia in the Netherlands in 2013. He emphasized that positively developing cultural ties between the two countries have become a strong and sustainable basis for the successful development of the two countries’ collaboration in various spheres. The Minister expressed his hope that the Higher School of Economics will actively participate in the programme of the Year of Russia in the Netherlands and encouraged the HSE and Rotterdam University administrations to discuss and develop a joint plan of presentations and meetings.
The Minister’s speech was dedicated to the analysis of the most important problems and key principles of state and public administration in the modern world. Mr. Rosenthal noted that many countries in the world need a deep reformation of their political and social strategies. But these reforms should only be started after a deep analysis of strong and weak areas in the development of their respective countries. The government of the Kingdom, he continued, is guided by three comparative advantages: the advantageous geographical position of the country in the heart of Europe, the high quality of education and the academic potential of the country, and successes in the commercialization of genetic engineering production. Large sums of money are invested in the development of these three areas and the country’s administration hopes for a considerable growth of the country’s competitive ability at a world level. Successful development of such a small country as the Netherlands in the tough international competitive environment directly depends on the achievements in these priority areas, the Minister noted.
Uri Rosenthal spoke about the domestic policy of the Dutch government and emphasized the special attention which the country’s administration pays to the comprehensive improvement of conditions for the country’s private sector. According to Minister Rosenthal, the economic development of any country depends on the successful development of the private sector and active entrepreneurship not only in large businesses, but mainly in small and medium-sized enterprises. One of the most important tasks of modern public administration is support for dynamic and innovative development of medium-sized and small businesses, Uri Rosenthal emphasized. This can be achieved through a considerable reduction in bureaucratic procedures and tax pressure on entrepreneurs. He said that it is necessary to remember that if private companies prosper in the country, society as a whole prospers too. Prosperity, stability and the freedom which we always strive for, cannot exist separately from each other. The innovative economy of any country can develop only as part of a culture based on human values guaranteeing a high quality of life for its citizens. This is true for all countries of the world, including the Netherlands and Russia, Mr. Rosenthal said.
Uri Rosenthal in his speech also expressed his strong belief that the supremacy of law and international law is one of the most vital conditions for successful state administration and economic development. Only after overcoming the corrupt practices and creating predictable and legally transparent conditions for business in the country, he said, it is possible to attract internal and external investment and promote the development of new ideas and promising initiatives in the country’s economy. Clear, reasonable rules and equal rights for all players – such a ‘level playing field’ promotes the progressive advancement of the country in any area. Moreover, this is a basis for the modern administration of a separate country as well as international relations as a whole, the Minister summarized.
Valentina Gruzintseva, HSE News Service
Photos by Nikita Benzoruk