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Belgium old hand in EU affairs

brussels bureau

Belgium old hand in EU affairs


Just as the summer holiday season revs up, Belgium takes European centre stage. The transitional government has met the entire complement of European Commissioners in Brussels, to discuss plans for the next six months with the Kingdom of Belgium, a founder country of the EU, holding the rotating presidency.

The president of the Commission, José Manuel Barroso, said: “I have 100% trust in Belgium. Belgium is not the only country going through changes in government.”

Outgoing Prime Minister Yves Leterme stressed this is the twelfth time the Belgians assume the chair of EU policy coordination.

Not only that: the new permanent European Council president Herman Van Rompuy, who was prime minister recently, is on hand to reinforce every effort. Financial supervision, a new EU external relations service and economic governance are primary areas.

The customary presidency-sponsored artwork in the atrium of the building where the ministerial councils meet was made of recycled materials and donated clothing. One wag observed: “The figures are like Belgium — missing heads.”

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brussels bureau