Originally Posted by Marengo
Thats sounds pretty impressive actually, I think that this is actually a way to make these visits work and be useful. Sometimes I seriously doubt what the use is, of WA and Maxima to New Zealand for example (nice pictures, but what else?) or a Dutch state visit to Belgium (weren't the relations between the countries excellent already?), so it is good to see that the economic missions are working.
The critisism was only on the speeches of the prince, right? Not on the concept of the economic visits as such?
The main criticism in SFA was about his repeated speeches indeed, but they also aimed at his performance as being disinterested, wooden, clumsy, etc. pp. His critics, who mocked him for not knowing their names and closing doors instead of opening them, remained anonymous though and had some unrealistic ideas about Philippe´s impact – in the end they have to take care for making contracts themselves. But nevertheless they had a point: With hindsight it turned out that Philippe was completely stressed out by the overprotective and patronizing manner of his advisors and ended up fighting with them during the mission, a most unfortunate timing for doing so.
The result was a bad-tempered and unfocussed Philippe, who messed up some meetings and found himself in the eye of the storm.
Philippe, his modified team and the business organisations have drawn their conclusions though and changed their ways during the last two years. The economic missions focus on specific sectors instead of covering several sectors and there are lots of interview opportunities now. The visit to the children´s cancer hospital in Cairo has gotten positive attention for example and Philippe successfully added some human touch by confessing he counts the hours till he can hug his little daughter Eléonore again. This and his well-reflected ideas about children and cancer made quite an impact on the HLN journalist Sabbe, one of his harshest critics not long ago. All in all the agenda and the workload is quite impressive; they just have to sell it more offensive IMO (and I´m sure the help of a certain Mr. Wijburg isn´t needed for doing so