Theo Francken risks expulsion from parliamentary committee over Twitter leak
Share article:
Share article:

Theo Francken risks expulsion from parliamentary committee over Twitter leak

Theo Francken (N-VA). © Belga

Federal defence minister Ludivine Dedonder (PS) has written to the chair of the parliamentary committee on the Belgian military’s missions abroad to demand the expulsion of N-VA member Theo Francken, on the grounds he broke the rule of confidentiality.

The committee sits behind closed doors, given the sensitivity of the information on what missions the Belgian forces are involved in, information on which could be useful to enemies and place lives at risk.

Members, similarly, are bound by a code of confidentiality not to reveal information gathered in the committee.

However Francken published a post on Twitter about two weeks ago revealing the decision of the Belgian defence ministry not to continue taking part in the French-led peace-keeping mission in the Barkhane area of Mali in Africa.

That, according to Dedonder, is a breach of the confidentiality of the committee. “Such a leak is irresponsible and unacceptable,” she wrote in a letter to the committee chair, Annick Ponthier (Vlaams Belang).

This information has been communicated to members of parliament confidentially, partly because the French authorities had not yet been officially informed that Belgium is not participating in Operation Barkhane this year,” a defence ministry source told Het Nieuwsblad.

The French are logically unhappy about having to learn this via Twitter, which makes for very difficult diplomatic relations.”

Ponthier has the power to call Francken to order. More importantly, she also has the power to remove him from the committee, which would be effective until the end of this legislature, meaning until after the next elections. The ban would also stop him taking part in other committees that are held behind closed doors. And to top it all, he would be fined the equivalent of 20% of his parliamentary salary.

Francken, meanwhile, has defended his position fiercely, insisting he will not be silenced.

The possible Belgian participation in Operation Barkhane has been openly discussed in parliament for months,” he said.

The fact that Dedonder says that we will not participate seems to me to be a clear policy intention of the minister and the government, which is not covered by the duty of confidentiality.”

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

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 ...
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 ...
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. ...
Belgium in Brief: Feeling Good/ Pandemic Law
Yesterday I said I was writing a newsletter I didn't want to write again. Today I'm writing another one ahead of a meeting that wasn't supposed ...
Eating less meat won’t actually help much with Flemish CO2 emissions
When it comes to the ways in which ordinary people can help to reduce CO2 emissions, eating less meat is often touted as an important solution. ...
At least one in seven coronavirus patients suffers from long-term Covid
Six months after becoming infected with the coronavirus, at least one in seven people still show symptoms connected to the infection, varying from ...
Operation Sky ECC: Major arrests and another large scale operation
A major operation took place last night in Belgium as a result of Operation Sky ECC, the name given to an investigation into organised crime that ...
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 ...
Consultative Committee expected to discuss telework and state of emergency
On Tuesday afternoon, Belgium's Consultative Committee will be meeting earlier than expected to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation. ...
Highest number of new Covid-19 cases recorded since November 2020
The number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Belgium is continuing to increase and has now reached levels last recorded in November ...
Prototype test plane crashes in Belgium after pilot ejects
A prototype aircraft crashed on Sunday afternoon in Yves-Gomezée (Walcourt, Namur province) during a test flight, according to several local media ...