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Mobility minister under fire for calling Brussels ‘a whore’
Brussels mobility and public works minister Pascal Smet has come under fire for comparing the city to “a whore” in an interview with Politico. “I compare Brussels very often with a whore, with a prostitute,” he told the paper. “Because at the same time it’s beautiful, it’s very horny, but at the same time it’s very ugly. It’s attractive and at the same time unattractive. It’s nice in its ugliness and ugly in its niceness.”
Smet (pictured) made the comments, as well as saying that Brussels was run by a bunch of “dinosaurs”, on Politico’s EU Confidential podcast. “When the mayors come together, it’s like a junta,” Smet said. “You can see this when they meet at the town hall because they all parks their cars on Grand’Place.”
Smet was discussing his ‘One Brussels’ plan, which he says will help to unify the communes and save taxpayers €1 billion in extra red tape and staffing costs.
Aside from what the city’s sex workers must think of such a comment, local politicians were not amused. Prime minister Charles Michel himself tweeted that the comments were “unacceptable” and that the city’s residents deserved “more respect”.
Federal foreign affairs minister Didier Reynders also took to twitter: “The misogynistic words of Pascal Smet are unacceptable.” Brussels’ minister-president Rudi Vervoort, Smet’s boss, tweeted, “Stopping the Brussels bashing applies to everyone, beginning with the members of my government”.
Smet also took to Twitter to deliver his apology: “Brussels is a city of dualities. They attract, and they repel. A feeling that every Brusselaar undoubtedly knows. My comparison was not appropriate, and I apologise for it. Those who know me know that I have a great love for my Brussels, my city.”
Member of Brussels parliament Vincent De Wolf (MR) called Smet’s apology “inadequate” and called for his resignation. “I plan to ask the minister-president for an official reaction and to ask what measures are going to be taken against the minister,” he said.
Photo Cabinet Smet/Wikipedia