Belgium approves Didier Reynders candidacy for top job at Council of Europe

Belgium approves Didier Reynders candidacy for top job at Council of Europe
Credit: Belga

The Belgian Government approved Didier Reynders' candidature for the role of Secretary-General of the Council of Europe on Wednesday alongside renewing Pierre Wunsch’s leadership of the Belgian Central Bank.

Current European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders will run for the top job in the Council of Europe this year after the Federal Government's approval at the Council of Ministers meeting on Wednesday.

Reynders had initially planned to stay on with the European Commission, but was forced to reconsider when current President of the European Council Charles Michel announced that he would leave his role early in order to run for election the European Parliament in the June elections.

Both Reynders and Michel are members of liberal party Mouvement Reformateur (MR), and the latter's decision to contest a seat in the Parliament poses too much of a threat to the former's future in the Commission.

The Council of Europe is a human rights organisation separate from the EU. Based in Strasbourg, it comprises 46 members including all 27 EU Member States. This is Reynders' second attempt at becoming Secretary-General: he ran and lost to Croatian politician Marija Pejčinović Burić in 2019.

Wunsch is back

The same Council of Ministers voted to renew Pierre Wunsch's tenure as the Governor of the Belgian central bank by another five years.

The 56-year-old's reappointment should have been a formality, but a series of political hold-ups at the end of 2023 made a vote between leading ministers a necessity.

Wunsch is considered a heavyweight in the European Central Bank's (ECB) Governing Council, its key decision-making body. The technical obstacles his leadership has faced do not reflect any substantial opposition to his continuation at the helm of the central bank.

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