No rules in Belgium for handling gifts to the head of state Senator Pol Van Den Driessche (N-VA) proposes that gifts offered to the king during official visits should be exposed to the public, for example at the annual public opening of the Royal Palace.
“It would be nice if also ordinary mortals could admire the presents,” the senator writes in letter to the king’s chief of staff, Frans Van Daele.
He is also referring to the UN headquarters in New York, where gifts from by heads of state are exposed, and to the Septennat Museum in Nièvre in Bourgogne, which exhibits gifts received by François Mitterrand when he was French president during 1981 – 1995.
Pol Van Den Driessche also questions the status of these objects. “For me, it’s clear that these gifts are state property, not private possessions. In fact, the monarch receives them in tribute to his role as head of state, not as a private person,” the senator said.
According to Pol Van Den Driessche, this issue is fully resolved in other monarchies like the Netherlands and Denmark. ”I find no rules about it in Belgium. If nothing is planned, it’s time to develop the rules,” he said.
For the time being no legislative initiative is planned.
The Brussels Times (Source: Belga)