You can ‘Ask me anything you want to know’. That is Mr Koenders’ message as he became the first Dutch minister to answer questions in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on 8 February.
The session – which gave internet users the opportunity to ask the minister whatever they wanted – was held under the auspices of the Netherlands’ EU Presidency. It was aimed at emphasizing the need for transparent decision-making in the EU. For half an hour, minister Koenders answered questions ‘upvoted’ by Reddit users. He received more than 200 questions in total. They ranged from the personal to the political and covered issues such as Syria, the refugee crisis and the referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. After the session with minister Koenders, Reddit users continued their discussion.
During its turn at the EU Presidency, the Netherlands worked to improve the transparency and visibility of EU decision-making, in part by encouraging the use of digital technology. To this end, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Dutch embassies abroad organized Diplohacks, calling on programmers to make EU decision-making more transparent through the use of EU open data. In addition, the first TransparencyCamp Europe was held in Amsterdam on 1 June 2016.