Information published by L’Echo today (Tuesday) indicates that the Belgian state, with the intervention of the new Secretary of State for Scientific Policy, Zuhal Demir (New Flemish Alliance), wishes to buy back the Princess Elisabeth Polar Station. The intention is to place the management of the station back in the hands of Alain Hubert.
The Belgian state led by Ms Demir, who succeeded Elke Sleurs, is currently negotiating with the International Polar Foundation (the “IPF”). Belgium wishes to become the sole owner of the polar station. As alluded to above, the plan will then be to entrust the management and operation to the IPF. This is the foundation of which Alain Hubert is the President.
However, one issue is that when Ms Sleurs was responsible for the matter, everything had been done to remove the IPF (and Alain Hubert) from the role of privileged partner.
This viewpoint is a worry to the scientific community. It fears the lack of consideration given by the polar station to research.
Conclusions drafted as part of the “international” inspection mission led in March 2017, and consulted by L’Echo, evidence this.
The matter will be considered by the cabinet before the end of June.