Maxime Jacques Marcel Verhagen ( [mɑˈksim ʒɑk mɑrˈsɛl vərˈɦaːɣə(n)]; born 14 September 1956) is a retired Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).
Verhagen a civil servant by occupation, was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the European People's Party after the European Parliament election of 1989 serving from 25 July 1989 until 19 July 1994. He was elected as Member of the House of Representatives after the Dutch general election of 1994 taking office 17 May 1994. When the Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal and Parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives Jan Peter Balkenende became Prime Minister Verhagen succeed him as the Parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives on 11 July 2002. During the Cabinets Balkenende I, II en III Verhagen became the unofficial Deputy leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal. He became the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Cabinet Balkenende IV serving from 22 February 2007 to 14 October 2010, he also served as Minister for Development Cooperation following the resignation from Bert Koenders. After the Dutch general election of 2010 Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal Jan Peter Balkenende resigned and Verhagen became the new Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal and the Parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives. After the 2010 Dutch cabinet formation Verhagen and the Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy Mark Rutte made a coalition agreement with the Party for Freedom (PVV). Verhagen became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation in the Cabinet Rutte I and served from 14 October 2010 until 5 November 2012
Verhagen retired from active politics at the age of fifty-six and became Chairman of the Construction Trade Association on 1 July 2013.
Maxime Jacques Marcel Verhagen was born on 14 September 1956 in Maastricht in the Netherlands Province of Limburg in a Roman Catholic family. He studied at Leiden University where he obtained a Master of Arts degree in History in 1986. For a brief period during his college years, Verhagen was associated with both left-wing radicalism and the liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). He joined the CDA in 1976.
Verhagen started working for the CDA and was elected to the city council of Oegstgeest. He served as a Member of the European Parliament from 25 July 1989 to 19 July 1994. On 17 May 1994, he was elected to the House of Representatives of the Netherlands. On 11 July 2002 he became CDA parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives. After became Minister of Foreign Affairs in the fourth Balkenende cabinet in 2007, he was succeeded in that position by Pieter van Geel. After the resignation of the Labour Party ministers, he became interim Minister for Development Cooperation.
The Christian Democratic Appeal did badly in the general election of 2010, and the then Christian Democratic Appeal Party leader and Prime Minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, resigned the same day. Verhagen replaced him as leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal parliamentary party.
On 14 October 2010, he became the Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation and Deputy Prime Minister in the First Rutte cabinet.
At the request of gay rights groups, Verhagen called upon the Nuncio to the Netherlands, Monsignor François Bacqué, to respond to accusations that the Roman Catholic Church opposed homosexual rights. He later expressed concern at the lifting of the excommunication of controversial bishop Richard Williamson, a member of the Society of Saint Pius X. Despite the disaster in Fukushima Verhagen is pleading for more nuclear power stations in the Netherlands.
Verhagen is married to Annemieke Beijlevelt since 1984 and has 2 sons and 1 daughter. They live in Lieden.