Belgium’s Prince Laurent is to be heard by Prime Minister Charles Michel on the issue of his unauthorised meeting with Chinese officials at a July reception in Brussels. “I’ve been mandated by the Council of Ministers to meet Prince Laurent and hear his arguments,” Prime Minister Michel said. “I shall then submit a report to the Council of Ministers.”
On the 29th of July, Prince Laurent posted on his Twitter account a photo of himself in the company of Chinese officials at a ceremony marking the 90th Anniversary of the Chinese army. Laurent, who is the younger brother of the King of Belgium, went to the ceremony without informing the Government or the King, contrary to the provisions of a 2013 law on the allowances granted to members of the royal family. A sanction consisting of the withholding of the Prince’s allowance could be imposed under the law.
However, Prime Minister Michel refrained from commenting on a possible sanction, explaining that his first duty was to hear the Prince’s arguments.
In early August, the three Flemish parties in the ruling coalition had come out in favour of a sanction. Asked about it on arriving at the Council of Ministers meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo of the Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open Vld) party reiterated their stance.
“There have been arrangements in the past on the tasks of the Prince,” he said. “I don’t see why we should wipe the slate clean. Good accounts keep you in good standing”.