On Thursday 22 September, Belgium's former Minister for Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès returns to the Chamber of Representatives, after she resigned from her ministerial functions several months ago because her husband was diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer.
In April, Wilmès had already temporarily stepped aside to make more time for her family after her husband's diagnosis, and officially resigned as Foreign Affairs Minister in June. Now, she is returning to her work in the Chamber.
"Even though my family situation forces me to fulfil my commitment to Belgians in a different way, my willingness to continue my work at the service of my country and for its citizens has remained perfectly intact," Wilmès said in a press release. "I will have the opportunity to do this partly from Parliament.”
She will become an effective member of the Constitution and Institutional Renewal Committee, stating that she hopes to be able to use the experience she gained in her previous positions to move forward on these crucial issues.
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"After all, successive crises have shown that the structure and functioning of the state in the broadest sense urgently needs to be reconsidered with a view to coherence, efficiency and transparency," Wilmès said. "More generally, the evolution of the world should also prompt us to find out how to modernise our democracy in order to preserve its foundations: our values and our freedoms."
These foundations are also at the heart of the discussions taking place in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, where she will be an alternate member.
In addition to her work in the Constitution Committee, Wilmès will continue to engage in topics close to her heart, in close collaboration with her parliamentary colleagues from the Francophone liberal MR party.