New Dutch environment minister named

Christian Democrat Pieter van Geel holds the environment portfolio in Jan Peter Balkenende's Dutch centre-right coalition government, sworn in on Monday, two months after the general election (EED 21/05/02). Mr van Geel's position is more junior than that held by his high-profile predecessor Jan Pronk. This is perceived by the left and the Greens as a downgrading of the environment portfolio. Mr van Geel, who has a background in planning and was the first vice-chair of the International network for urban development, will only attend senior ministerial meetings when they deal with sustainability. See biography.

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