Serge Lipszyc, justice adviser to the government of Charles Michel (MR), will likely be appointed next week to head the I Committee or Permanent Oversight Committee on the Intelligence and Security Services. There is no doubt about his appointment because there are no other candidates. However, there is pushback from opposition parties. “It is not healthy when someone moves directly from an advisor’s role to lead the committee that has to monitor the intelligence service,” says Stefaan Van Hecke (Green), member of the parliamentary advisory committee of the I Committee.
Van Hecke’s words were echoed by Georges Dallemagne (CdH) who said he was worried by the decision: “Controlling the intelligence services is not an easy task. How credible can that control be when done by someone who is so close to the prime minister? “ In general the opposition fears that Lypszyc will remain indebted to the prime minister instead of doing his job as an independent auditor.
Appointments to the I Committee have had a political tint for years. The retiring chairman of the I Committee, Guy Rapaille, has a PS label. Rapaille’s successor must once again be French-speaking because francophones are currently underrepresented in the intelligence services.
It is quite unsual for there to be only one candidate for this type of senior function. Several sources confirmed to De Standaard that some other potential candidates dropped out because they realised their candidacy would never be accepted. Before starting his work in the office of the Prime Minister, Lipszyc worked in the office of then-Minister of Justice Annemie Turtelboom (Open VLD). Before that he was an attorney in Arlon.