For Guy Verhofstadt, politics is an endurance sport like cycling. As much as he has ridden Belgium’s roads keeping fit, he has applied his energy to moving his ideas about Europe forward. As the candidate of the Liberal Democrat group, one of those ideas is to preside over the European Commission.
Verhofstadt is a veteran politician, having held several ministerial portfolios and serving as Belgium’s prime minister for nine years.
He has long been known as ‘a convinced European’, keenly attuned to integration politics, a supporter of a federal and democratic Europe — forthright in his opinions.
Verhofstadt said: “Today, the media’s attention is only drawn by the eurosceptics and populists of all sorts. Lots of people think eurosceptics form almost the majority in public opinion in Europe. Well, I think that’s wide of the mark. I think that most of the people know very well that if we want economic growth in the future, and jobs for our young people, we need more Europe.”
Verhofstadt was born on 11 April, 1953, in Dendermonde, Belgium, and holds a masters degree in law from Ghent University.