4th Feb 2023

Fall of Belgian government will not affect its EU presidency, says commission

The European Commission has said it does not believe the recent fall of the Belgian government will have a negative impact on the country's tenure of the EU's six-month rotating presidency, due to start on 1 July.

"We are confident that Belgium will have a very effective presidency," commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen told a regular news conference in Brussels on Tuesday (27 April).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"We've been working for months with the Belgian authorities to try to make a success of the presidency and we are confident that Belgium will be able to perform all the tasks related to its presidency," she added.

The Belgian government formally collapsed on Monday when the country's head of state, King Albert II, accepted Prime Minister Yves Leterme's resignation.

Mr Leterme tendered his resignation last Thursday when a key coalition partner pulled out of the government, but the king had been holding out in the hope a compromise solutions between the squabbling partners could be achieved.

The fall marks the end of the fourth government since elections in 2007, with analysts pointing to the possibility of a snap election this June, just weeks before Belgium is scheduled to take over the EU's rotating presidency.

Privately, EU officials admit that the timing of Belgium's latest dispute, centred around the rights of minority French speakers in suburbs outside Brussels, is far from ideal, with the fall of the Czech government in early 2009 widely perceived as reducing the efficiency of the central European state during its presidency.

Despite the reduced role of the rotating six-month presidency under the Lisbon Treaty, holders are still expected to carry out much of the important work formally assigned to the job under the EU's old rulebook, the Treaty of Nice.

While the bloc's new high representative Catherine Ashton has reduced the role of presidency foreign ministers, presidency ministers in the fields of justice, agriculture, fisheries and economic portfolios are still seen as being crucial deal-brokers between EU member states.

Current presidency chair Spain is considered to occupy a middle ground between the old and new regimes, with delays in ratifying the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 creating uncertainty over which rules would apply to the southern country's presidency.

Hawkish ECB rate-rise 'puts energy transition at risk'

The European Central Bank raised interest rates by another 0.5 percent to a 14-year high, and expects to hike rates by another half percent in March. But what does that mean for the green transition?


MEPs push for greater powers for workers' councils

European Works Councils can play a key role for workers and their unions to bargain effectively — but what are they, why have they been neutered, and why is big business objecting to greater powers?

Latest News

  1. Greece faces possible court over 'prison-like' EU-funded migration centres
  2. How the centre-right can take on hard-right and win big in 2024
  3. Top EU officials show Ukraine solidarity on risky trip
  4. MEPs launch anonymous drop-box for shady lobbying secrets
  5. Hawkish ECB rate-rise 'puts energy transition at risk'
  6. MEPs push for greater powers for workers' councils
  7. How Pavel won big as new Czech president — and why it matters
  8. French official to take on Islamophobia in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us