Liesje Schreinemacher takes experience from Brussels and legal profession to department

She is familiar with “extinguishing political fires”. And in The Hague she has also been close to the fire, says Liesje Schreinemacher (VVD) in 2020 in an interview with the legal faculty magazine in Nijmegen. Schreinemacher is a MEP and looks back on her former period at the Binnenhof in The Hague.

Since 2009, Schreinemacher was a personal employee of VVD staff Johan Remkes and later Jeanine Hennis for a number of years in The Hague. She learned to make debate texts there and to do the administration as well. With Hennis, who became Minister of Defense in 2012, she went to the department and became her bosss “ears and eyes” there. “You need to know what political issues are going on with all political parties. You should also be able to make a translation of official documents that are on your desk every day.”

Experience in Brussels

In her new job as Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, 38-year-old VVD politician will need these skills. And her two years of experience in Brussels can also be useful.

There, Schreinemacher had international trade, internal market and consumer protection in her package. In October, she joined a trade mission to the United States to smooth out the trade dispute over steel and aluminum. Her starting point is clear, as it appears on her VVD page: “Our market, our rules.”

“Prepared by legal profession”

Schreinemacher comes from Rotterdam, first studied communication sciences and then went to law school because she wanted a legal background as a political assistant. Before she was elected to the European Parliament with preferential votes in 2019, the future minister was a lawyer in construction and procurement law for some time.

“The nice thing about politics is that it has a lot in common with the legal profession,” she said in the faculty magazine. “You need to be able to quickly delve into the matter, be able to distinguish key issues from side issues, be able to make a good speech and be able to convince people. In that regard, I think my time as a lawyer has prepared me well to become a politician.”

Yet she didnt think shed ever become a politician herself. She also saw the downsides of public existence. Everything comes under a magnifying glass and online the responses are sometimes intense. “You have to grow thick skin for that.”