Most departing ministers will keep two taxpayer-funded staff members
Share article:
Share article:

Most departing ministers will keep two taxpayer-funded staff members

Koen Geens will retain an archivist and someone to follow up on his legislative work. © Belga

A majority of those ministers who lost their post in the creation of a new government under Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) are planning to take up the option of retaining two staff members paid by the state, De Standaard reports.

The years-long tradition continues despite repeated promises of reform, and a resolution proposed by eight parties which was passed by the parliament in 2017.

The system means that any person leaving a ministerial or secretary of state post, regardless of how long they were in office, may retain the services of two members of their staff, employed full time for the remaining duration of the term of government, and paid from the public purse.

And there is no restriction on how those staff members are employed, whether as private chauffeur, party worker or campaigner.

The ministers in the government led by Sophie Wilmès were members of MR (eight posts), CD&V (three) and Open VLD (three). Of those, three continue in government: De Croo, Wilmès and David Clarinval (MR). The other 11 former ministers are eligible for the two staff members.

Among them, De Standaard reveals, former foreign affairs minister Philippe Goffin (MR) and mobility minister François Bellot (MR) will keep on two staff to help with parliamentary work. Pensions minister Daniel Bacquelaine intends to keep on his two ministerial drivers. And small business minister Denis Ducarme (MR) keep two members of his staff for charitable reasons.
“These are people who would otherwise lose their jobs,” he told the paper.

Former health minister Maggie De Block (Open VLD) keep two members of staff, her private secretary and a staff member seconded from the federal health institute Sciensano.

Koen Geens (CD&V), former justice minister, retains two people, one to organise his archives and the other to follow up on his legislative work.

This is not about a chauffeur,” he said. “I can drive myself.”

Two ex-ministers, Philippe De Backer (Open VLD) and Marie Christine Marghem (MR), said they have not yet made a decision. Home affairs minister Pieter De Crem and labour minister Nathalie Muylle (both CD&V) were not available for comment.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Masks reintroduced indoors, teleworking encouraged
Masks will again be mandatory inside shops and other indoor public spaces, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced in a press conference on ...
Belgium intends to activate the pandemic law, says Health Minister
"We intend to activate the pandemic law," Public Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke confirmed on Tuesday in the House committee, ahead of Tuesday's ...
Offers for fake Covid Safe Tickets circulating on social media
As the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) becomes mandatory in many places across Belgium, offers for forgeries are increasingly circulating on social media. ...
EU auditors: More worried about the future budget than about pervasive errors in the 2020 budget
The European Court of Auditors (ECA) have signed off the 2020 EU accounts as giving a true and fair view of the union’s financial position but like ...
Belgium aims to tackle sexual violence with video interrogations
The federal government is looking to tackle sexual violence and increase convictions connected to this crime by relying more heavily on video ...
Duvel celebrates 150th anniversary with special brew in commemorative bottle
Belgium’s Duvel Moortgat Brewery is celebrating its 150th anniversary with the release of a special brew in a commemorative bottle shaped like its ...
Pollution scandal: 3M to show emissions don’t pose risk or halt production
Flanders has ordered American company 3M, involved in a pollution scandal in Antwerp, to prove that emissions linked to its production activities do ...
The Netherlands fears a greater rise in sea levels than forecast
Sea levels could rise by up to two metres by 2100 on the Dutch coastline – far more than previously forecast – according to an announcement from the ...
The Smurfs return to Belgian TV with the first new show since 1989
A new Smurfs show is bringing the characters of Belgium's second-most-famous comic franchise back to the small screen with their first new series, 30 ...
On this day in Brussels: An entrepreneurial journey begins
The Rue Dansaert was just beginning to become trendy when Alain Coumont opened his first bakery here on 26 October 1990. He started by baking big ...
Almost half of Belgian subsidies from EU left unused
Belgium left almost half (49%) of its subsidies allocated by the European Union between 2013 and 2020 unused, the equivalent of around €1.375 ...
Visitors to embark on Orient Express adventure at Brussels exhibition
An exhibition dedicated to the Orient Express – the train that was the scene for many novels, including Agatha Christie's – allows visitors to ...