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Pieter De Crem studying at Harvard during first parliamentary weeks

17:19 03/10/2016

As Belgium's parliamentary year kicks off this week, state secretary for foreign trade Pieter De Crem (pictured) is conspicuous in his absence, as he is in the US for six weeks following a class at Harvard Business School. “Unacceptable,” says the opposition, according to Knack.

De Crem's studies are in line with his duties as secretary of state, writes De Morgen. "This training should enable him to better assess the economic and trade challenges that will influence and steer our country and the international world in the near future,” the newspaper continues.

While Belgium's prime minister Charles Michel and CD&V party leader Wouter Beke were informed ahead of time about De Crem's absence, opposition party Groen is reportedly “not amused”.

"Is it too much to ask to be present at the start of the new parliamentary year? De Crem can study as much as he wants, but during his vacation," Groen's Wouter De Vriendt told the newspaper. "Our entrepreneurs deserve a state secretary who is devoted, not a part-time member of government."

Written by Robyn Boyle