Guy Verhofstadt

Guy Maurice Marie Louise Verhofstadt  (  Dutch: [ɣiː vərɦɔfstɑt] ( listen )   ; born 11 April 1953) is a Belgian politician Who has served as the Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Belgium since 2009. He served as the Prime Minister of Belgium from 1999 to 2008, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium from 1985 to 1992 and Minister of Budget from 1985 to 1992. He was a Member of the Chamber of Representatives from 1985 to 2009 .

Since 2009 he has been a member of the European Parliament where he is the leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and has been the Inter-Parliamentarian Federalist Spinelli Group . He was the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party nominee for President of the European Commission in the 2014 European Parliament election , and is the European Parliament’s representative in the Brexit negotiations .

Early career

Born in 1953 in Dendermonde , he became president of the Liberal Flemish Student Union (1972-1974) while studying law at the University of Ghent . He soon became the secretary of Willy De Clercq , who was at that time the president of the Flemish Liberal Party ( PVV ). In 1982, at age 29, he became president of the party. In 1985 he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies, and became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Budget under Prime Minister Wilfried Martens . Because of his economic views and his young age, he became known as „Baby Thatcher „.  [1]  [2]

After being elected from government he became leader of the opposition. After 1991, he changed the PVV to the Flemish Liberals and Democrats (VLD). This new party attracted many politicians from other parties, notably from the Volksunie (VU) and the Christian People’s Party (CVP).  [3]

However, despite the fact that many had high expectations, the party did not manage to outstrip the CVP. Verhofstadt resigned and disappeared from the political scene, only to return to the party’s presidency in 1997 with a less radical image. He has moved away from neoliberalism (partly under the influence of his brother Dirk , a social liberal political philosopher ), and has become more of a centrist figure, a change which especially became clear during his prime ministerial period.  [2]

Verhofstadt I

Main article: Verhofstadt I Government

Partly because of a food scandal that broke out just before the 1999 elections,  [4]  the VLD became the largest party in the country, obtaining 22% of the vote in Flanders . He quickly formed a coalition with the Flemish socialists and greens and the French-speaking counterparts of these parties (a symmetric coalition) in Brussels and Wallonia. He was appointed Prime Minister on 12 July 1999, the first liberal to hold that office since 1938. It was the first Belgian government has a Christian Democratic party since 1958, and the first one to include green parties.

Verhofstadt was awarded the Vision for Europe Award in 2002 for a more unified Europe. The economic situation gives rise to the lowest social taxation and the lowest taxation. After 2001, the economic situation worsened. The ‚Aging Fund‘ or ‚Silver Fund‘ was set up, in order to ensure the maintenance of pensions until 2030. But despite its efforts to boost the economy second Dehaene cabinet.

Much to the Disapproval of His Coalition Partners, Verhofstadt and his VLD to non-EU residents. Instead, they have been able to liberalize the procedure for obtaining Belgian citizenship. During the crisis , the United States joined France, Germany and Russia in opposition to the invasion.

Verhofstadt II

Main article: Verhofstadt II Government

Following the 2003 general elections ,  [5]  Verhofstadt formed his second cabinet with the green parties, who were virtually annihilated in the election. For various reasons, the formation of the second government is more or less normal: the economic situation.

Various  which?  ]  powers were pressing for the abolition of the law of universal jurisdiction (also known as “ genocide law „), which gives the Belgian courts the authority to accuse and sentence non-Belgians with crimes against humanity . Charges that have been made previously and are often dismissed as being more than politically motivated international insults. Verhofstadt’s second government was sworn in on 12 July 2003, with both coalition partners having agreed to abolish the so-called „genocide law“ and replace it with a much weaker one.  quote needed  ]

Guy Verhofstadt second government of their Liberal liberal liberalization of their sister liberal MR , the Flemish social democratic SP.a and their sister social democratic party PS to form another Purple coalition .  quote needed  ]

In the Flemish regional elections of 13 June 2004, his party lost votes, slipping into third place in Flanders . This Prime Minister, there was rumors that the Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD & V) party that won the elections, would participate in federal government. Verhofstadt was suggested as a candidate to replace Romano Prodi as the next President of the European Commission , but his candidacy was opposed by Tony Blair and other leaders who had disagreed with Verhofstadt’s uncompromising criticisms of the Anglo-American invasion. Iraq the previous year . [6]

After this Verhofstadt was faced with a succession of internal crises. The first, coming to a head in the autumn of 2004, was the question DHL would invest in Brussels Airport , located in the Flemish municipality of Zaventem . The question which is caused by the collapse of the cabinet.  [7]  In the end the gap between employment and the rest of the world was not enough. DHL had only used the Zaventem option in order to get better conditions from Leipzig .  [8]

Following the DHL crisis, Verhofstadt faced a crisis over the allocation of constitutional and administrative powers and responsibilities for the Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde district (commonly abbreviated as BHV). Division of the powers had been written in the government coalition by the parties controlling the Flemish regional government. This triggered a veto from the Walloon parties.  [9]  [10]  The crisis dragged on until spring 2005 when the matter was shelved until after the federal elections of 2007.  [11]  By 2005 the Flemish parties participating in the government did not want the government to collapse, given their poor ratings in the opinion polls.

The constitutional court of Belgium would be constitutionally invalid because of the non-separation of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde . In the autumn of 2005, Verhofstadt managed to score a success story when it was able to negotiate a „Generation Pact“ with regard to employment and social reforms, regardless of the opposition and actions of the unions.  quote needed  ]

Verhofstadt was sworn in as a municipal councilor in Ghent in January 2007, as a result of the 2006 municipal elections . In the council, Freya Van den Bossche , who was elected to the municipal council as well. He is now visiting the Russian President Vladimir Putin to be able to go to the first session of the newly elected council.  quote needed  ]

Verhofstadt III

Main article: Verhofstadt III Government

Verhofstadt led the VLD into the 2007 general election . Already with the 2006 municipal elections , the VLD showed signs of fatigue with the Flemish vote, which seemed to have had enough of eight years of Verhofstadt, and the purple coalition governments. In an evening speech on election day, Verhofstadt conceded defeat and asked for a new generation to lead the VLD; he was to step down as prime minister after formation of a new government. However, the formation of a new government was complicated, and in the end, Yves Leterme’s CD & V politician failed to bring about a new government.  [12]

Yet certain policy matters became politically urgent. The King therefore asked Verhofstadt to mediate an „interim government“ that would be in office for a proposed budget. A deal was struck in December, and the „Interim Government“ was set for inauguration on December 21, 2007. Two days later, this interim government won a vote of confidence in parliament, with 97 votes in favor, 46 opposed, and one abstention, assuring its legitimacy for three months.  [12]

A „permanent government“ under Yves Leterme’s leadership assumed office on 20 March 2008.  [13]

One of the first decisions of the new government, on December 21, 2007, was to raise the issue of al Qaeda operative.  [14]  [15]


After his first election , he was elected in 2007. In the 2009 European Parliamentary election , Verhofstadt was elected a member of the European Parliament for the term 2009-2014. He has also been able to replace José Manuel Barroso as President of the European Commission by a coalition of greens , socialists and liberals .  [16]

On 1 July 2009 he was elected President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group in the European Parliament .  [17]

On July 14th, 2009, he was elected to the European Parliament in June 2009. On 15 September 2010, Verhofstadt supported the new initiative Spinelli Group , which was founded to reinvigorate the drive for federalisation of the European Union (EU). He is also a member of the Club of Madrid, an independent organization of more than 80 forming democratic statesmen. The group works to promote democratic governance and leadership worldwide.  [18]

Since 2011, he has written monthly commentaries  [19]  on strategic spotlights for Project Syndicate , an international media organization.

Since 2012, Verhofstadt has been an independent Board Member of the Brussels-based, Brussels-quoted Sofina holding.  [20]  and an independent director of Exmar, a global transporter of gas and oil.

In April 2015, Verhofstadt criticized Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras over his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis and difficult negotiations between the EU / ECB / IMF and Tsipras recently elected Syriza- led government. Via Twitter selon the New York  Times  , Verhofstadt Said Tsipras „should stop try trying to play # Putin Against the EU“ Tsipras and That „should play selon the common rules and conduct serious Reforms“.  [21]

In August 2015, he called for a reform of the EU’s asylum and migration system, in reaction to the European migrant crisis. He also criticized UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French president François Hollande for opposing the European Commission’s proposal to distribute asylum requests for migrants over all countries of the European Union. He also called on governments of France, the UK, and Hungary to stop building up walls and border security measures, and to shift their effort on humanitarian assistance. [22]  This humanitarian assistance including that the EU „ask“ the dysfunctional countries that source migrants to address their own dysfunction. [23]

In May 2015, news media reported that Verhofstadt was included in a Russian blacklist of prominent people from the European Union who are not allowed to enter the country.  [24]  [25]

In September 2016, Verhofstadt was named the European Parliament’s representative on matters relating to Brexit .  [26]  In his public statements, Verhofstadt has focused on the United Kingdom and British citizens in the EU.  [27]  In November 2016 Verhofstadt warned the European Parliament of a coming „ring of autocrats“, citing the increasing assertiveness of Russia and Turkey , and contemplating the possibility of a Trump presidency.  [28]  [29]

Other activities

  • European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA), Chairman of the Board of Governors
  • Friends of Europe , Member of the Board of Trustees

Honors and awards

Belgian honors

  •  Belgium : Minister of State , by Royal Decree.
  •  Belgium : Grand Cordon in the Order of Leopold (21 April 2008)
  •  Belgium : Grand Cross in the Order of the Crown (5 June 2007)

Foreign honors

  •  Denmark : Grand Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog (2002)
  •  Finland : Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose of Finland (March 30, 2004)
  •  Greece : Grand Cross of the Order of Honor (2005)
  •  Italy : Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (20 February 1986)  [30]
  •  Norway : Great Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit (2003)
  •  Poland : Grand Cordon of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (14 October 2004)
  •  Spain : Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (2000)
  •  Sweden : Order Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Polar Star (2001)

See also

  • Crown Council of Belgium
  • United States of Europe
  • Dirk Verhofstadt , his brother


  1. Jump up^   Alex Barker (27 September 2016). „Verhofstadt warns Britain on European Parliament’s Brexit power: The president’s negotiator says ‚must-hate‘ of past 40 years . Financial Times , London . Retrieved 10 March 2017 .
  2. ^ Jump up to: b   Maya Oppenheim (14 September 2016). „Guy Verhofstadt: Who is the diehard?“ From describing David Cameron, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage as „rats fleeing a sinking ship“ to reportedly being banned from entering Russia, he has often found himself in the spotlight “ . The Independent , London . Retrieved 10 March 2017 .
  3. Jump up^  „Biografie Guy Verhofstadt“ . Het Laatste Nieuws, Brussels. December 21, 2007 . Retrieved 10 March 2017 .
  4. Jump up^   Bernard, Alfred; Broeckaert, Fabrice; De Poorter, Geert; From Cock, A; Hermans, Cedric; Saegerman, Claude; Houins, Gilbert (2002). „The Belgian PCB / Dioxin Incident: Analysis of the Food Chain Contamination and Health Risk Evaluation“.  Environmental Research  .  88  (1): 1-18. doi :10.1006 / enrs.2001.4274 . PMID  11896663 .
  5. Jump up^   Corinne Deloy (18 May 2013). „The socialists and liberals in power win the belgian general elections … Results … Victory for the two main parts of the outgoing government: liberals and socialists“ . Robert Schuman Foundation . Retrieved 10 March 2017 .
  6. Jump up^   Jamie Smyth (6 October 2009). „Blair’s rebirth as a player in European politics not a deal …. Everyone in Brussels remembers the failed campaign to get trained Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt Guy installed as president of the European Commission in 2004 ..“ The Irish Times . Retrieved 10 March 2017 .
  7. Jump up^  „DHL scraps Brussels growth plan“ .  BBC News Channel  . BBC , London. October 21, 2004 . Retrieved 10 March 2017 .
  8. Jump up^   „Leipzig Hopes to Gain DHL Hub: Courier service DHL is expected to set up an intercontinental hub either in Vatry, France, or Leipzig, Germany. For the eastern German city, a lot is at stake“. DW Akademie. 22 October 2004. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  9. Jump up^  „BHV spat keeps PM from Moscow celebrations“ . Expatica newsletter. May 9, 2005 . Retrieved 10 March 2017 .
  10. Jump up^   Wouter Bax (12 May 2005). „BHV-storm waait over, Verhofstadt blijft“. Persgroep Nederland BV (from Verdieping Trouw) . Retrieved 10 March2017 .
  11. Jump up^   Bart Dirks (12 May 2005). „Verhofstadt overleeft ‚BHV‘-crisis“ . Persgroep Nederland BV (De Volkskrant) . Retrieved 10 March 2017 .
  12. ^ Jump up to: b   „Belgium’s Interim Government Wins Parliamentary Confidence Vote“ . Bloomberg . 23 December 2007. Archived from the original on 13 March 2010 . Retrieved 3 August 2014 .
  13. Jump up^  „Belgium Finally Gets a Government“ . TIME. December 21, 2007 . Retrieved 3 August 2014 .
  14. Jump up^  „Belgium Arrests 14 in Plot to Free Inmate Linked to Al-Qaeda“ .  Washington Post  . December 22, 2007.
  15. Jump up^  „14 held amid high terrorism alert in Belgium“ .  Los Angeles Times  . December 22, 2007.
  16. Jump up^  „Support growing for Verhofstadt to replace Barroso“ . 10 June 2009 . Retrieved 3 August 2014 .
  17. Jump up^  „Duff-Verhofstadt drive to federal Europe sees its first Liberal casualty“. Archived from the original on 27 June 2009 . Retrieved 23 June 2009 .
  18. Jump up^  „Guy Verhofstadt“ . . Retrieved 24 June 2012 .
  19. Jump up^  „Guy Verhofstadt – Project Syndicate“ .  Project Syndicate  . Retrieved 2017-10-20 .
  20. Jump up^  „Belgian Monitor“ on-line, 21 May 2012
  21. Jump up^  David Herszenhorn, and Liz Alderman,“Putin Meets With Alexis Tsipras of Greece, Raising Eyebrows in Europe“, New York Times , April 8, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-08.
  22. Jump up^   Verhofstadt, Guy (2015-08-20). „Faced with the situation of migrants, the EU needs leadership, not walls . “  The Huffington Post  .
  23. Jump up^   Verhofstadt, Guy (2015-08-20). „Migration in the EU: We Need Leadership, Not Walls“.  Huffington Post .
  24. Jump up^  Laurence Norman (May 30, 2015),Russia Produces Blacklist of EU People Banned From Entering Country  Wall Street Journal  .
  25. Jump up^  European Union at  BBC News  , May 31, 2015.
  26. Jump up^  „Parliament appoints Verhofstadt Guy as representative on Brexit matters“ . European Parliament. September 8, 2016 . Retrieved 25 September 2017 .
  27. Jump up^   Verhofstadt, Guy (9 July 2017). „Improve the Brexit offer to EU citizens, or we’ll veto the deal“ .  The Guardian  . Retrieved 25 September 2017 .
  28. Jump up^   Markus Becker (25 November 2016). „Das neue Selbstbewusstsein der EU: Ist der Dreifach-Schock von Brexit, Türkei-Putschversuch und Trump-Wahl heilsam für Europa? Die EU zeigt erste Anzeichen einer Rückbesinnung auf ihre Werte – und den Willen, sie offensiv zu vertreten“ .  Kampf gegen Populismus  . Der Spiegel (online) . Retrieved 10 March 2017 .
  29. Jump up^   Shehab Khan (22 November 2016). „Trump, Putin and Erdogan a ‚ring of autocrats‘ trying to destroy Europe, says EU’s chief Brexit negotiator:‘ Not only do they like each other, they also have one thing in common. , our European liberal democracy, ‚Guy Verhofstadt says‘ . The Independent , London . Retrieved 10 March 2017 .
  30. Jump up^  Italian Presidency website,HE Guy VERHOFSTADT- Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordina al Merito della Repubblica Italiana