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Thyssen meets Juncker, speculation grows over next prime minister

11:03 05/09/2014

Marianne Thyssen, who was nominated as Belgium’s European Commissioner yesterday, has met European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. Thyssen, a Flemish Christian democrat (CD&V), is not yet revealing whether she has already been offered a particular post within the EU administration. “We had an interesting discussion, but I think it’s best to keep it confidential,” she said.

The decision to put forward Thyssen as Belgium’s first female commissioner has been widely praised by Belgian politicians. Outgoing prime minister Elio Di Rupo said she was highly competent. “I think she will be given an important post within the European Union,” he added.

Thyssen, 58, comes from a relatively modest background. Her father was a baker in the East Flanders town of Sint-Gillis-Waas. After completing a law degree at the University of Leuven, she worked for the small business federation Unizo, where she eventually became director.

She entered politics as a legal adviser to a CD&V health minister and won a seat in the European Parliament in 1991. She became the first woman president of CD&V in 2008, asked to step in during problems with the Leterme II government, but resigned after the party performed badly in the 2010 elections.

Political analysts are now speculating on who will become Belgium’s next prime minister, as it can no longer be Kris Peeters. Peeters was set to take the post, but it can no longer go to a member of the CD&V party since the commission post is being filled by a CD&V politician.

Speculations are pointing to co-formateur Charles Michel of the French-language liberal party (MR), but Gwendolyn Rutten, president of the Flemish liberals (Open VLD) has said that her party is still in the running.

In an interview on the political talk show Reyers laat last night, Rutten (pictured) said that the next leader would have to come from one of the two liberal parties in the coalition. “It could be Open VLD or MR,” she said, adding that “it could be a man, but it could just as well be a woman.”

Those statements led some analysts to point to liberal Maggie De Block, who has become extremely popular with the French-speaking constituency during her time as state secretary of migration and asylum.

Negotiations continue this week to form a federal government, led by formateurs Peeters and Michel.


photo courtesy VTM

Written by Derek Blyth



Sorry, who is this lady? NOT Marianne Thyssen .... LOL

Sep 5, 2014 14:47

@Gellis -- The article does say it's Gwendolin Rutten ("pictured")...

Dec 4, 2014 16:52