With great sadness, I learnt that the former Dutch Commissioner Frans Andriessen has passed away.
I knew Frans well and I saw first-hand how much he contributed to building a stronger European Union. He helped to pave the way for our common currency, the euro. He played an important role in making Europe's economy fit for the turn of the century by helping the European steel industry to innovate and the agricultural sector to modernise. Finally, he played a crucial role in advancing multilateral trade negotiations, such as the Uruguay Round. He will remain an inspiration and motivation for Europe to defend our multilateral rules-based order today.
Frans was a kind, considerate, and trusted friend and colleague. It was a privilege to have worked with him and his legacy will live on.
My thoughts are with his family and friends. Europe and I personally will miss him.