Jo Vandeurzen, currently minister for public health and welfare in the Flemish government, will leave politics at the time of the national and regional elections in 2019, he has announced. Vandeurzen, a Limburger, served as a member and chair of the Genk social aid agency, then sat as a member of the Flemish Council, forerunner to the region’s parliament. He was federal justice minister and minister for institutional reforms in 2007-2008 before taking up his post in the Flemish government in 2009.
As a Limburger, he played a role in the efforts to support the province after the loss of thousands of jobs at Ford Genk. As a minister he keeps a relatively low public profile, but is constantly busy with initiatives on issues such as the provision of nursing care for the elderly, abuse of seniors and, more recently, the problem of men who recruit vulnerable young girls into prostitution.
“I have no plans. I don’t have another job offer, I’m leaving all doors open,” he told Het Belang van Limburg newspaper. But he will not be heading the CD&V list in the next elections, nor will he be seeking another ministerial portfolio.
“I’m 60 years old,” he said. “If I want to go in another direction in my career, I have to do it now. In any case, political parties need to concentrate on renewal and rejuvenation. As party chairman [2004-2007 – TBT] I always found that very important. And I thought the moment had now come to make room for it in my party.”