Waarnemer belt met apotheker

- Richard Clark?

- Speaking. Who are you?

- Jan Peter Balkenende, prime minister of the Netherlands.

- Weren’t you badly defeated in the elections?

- Yes, but... Anyway. I’m right now the caretaker MP. And I call you because our Parliament has requested me to demand you to reconsider the firing of half the staff at the Organon plant in the Netherlands. You’re the CEO of Merck Sharp & Dohme, after all.

- That’s right.

- You have outraged the Dutch. After the defeat in the World soccer cup, that is. In fact, the Ondernemingsraad of Organon thinks the relocation is illegal and will take the case to court.

- The Worker’s council. That’s exactly your problem. You’re a bunch of socialists in the Netherlands. You know the town where our plant is located?

- Eh, yes. My party lost a lot of votes there in the elections.

- Oss. The home town of those Socialist Party crackpots. They’ve campaigned against industry, against globalisation, against foreign direct investment, against high payments, against protection of patents... You name it.

- By firing 2.175 workers in Oss you make them stronger! There were demonstrations in front of my office.

- Their founder Jan Marijnissen was on the VPRO-tv last week as a summer guest. He believes the CIA and the US government are behind all evil in Africa. Not a word about the legacy of his political idols Mao and Stalin. He hasn’t changed his world view in 40 years. I’m sorry, Jan Peter, it’s cynical they now demand us Americans to save their jobs.

- We want the Netherlands to become a knowledge based economy. I chair the National Innovation Platform...

- Nothin’ has come out of that except lots of meetings. The way you Dutch treat R&D of innovative industries is an insult.

- Why?

- Maria van der Hoeven opened an MSD-laboratory in Haarlem in 2008. Next thing, you award our main competitors Glaxo Smith Kline your lucrative order for cervix cancer vaccins.

- Sorry...

- Currently you’re burning away 20 million Mexican flu vaccins. Your health minister ordered too many. Typical error of central planning. It costs your taxpayers 300 million euro. Money that could have been spent on saving research jobs in Oss.

- I promise...

- You need advise from Frits Bolkestein. He was a politician with whom we could do business. He was on the board of MSD and in 1996 he wrote a letter to health minister Els Borst.

- Beste Els, I remember.

- Frits got things done. Next time, don’t call when it’s too late, but write a confidential letter, JP.

Roel Janssen