Former European Commissioner Karel Van Miert has died, apparently from falling from a ladder in his garden in Belgium. The Flemish socialist was 67.
He was once one of the most powerful figures in the European Community. He began as an intern within the bloc’s executive body. Then, during Jacques Delors’ influential time as the president of the European Commission, from 1989-93, Van Miert became commissioner for transport, among other policy areas. There were 12 member states in the community at that time. Van Miert took up the competition portfolio in the Commission headed by Jacques Santer, until 1999, making this post steadily stronger. He earned renown in Washington as well as in Europe, notably forcing changes to Boeing’s plan to buy McDonnell Douglas.