And that’s only the start: in all, Dauwe holds 55 official positions, more than any other public figure in Flanders. “I knew there were a lot of them,” the 64-year-old said, “but I’m surprised I’m top of the list. I consider it an honour. But maybe it’s time to cut back a bit. I’ve discovered that it’s not always possible to give your best at everything.”
Dauwe attributes his work ethic to early learning of the proverb “Idle hands are the Devil’s playthings”. He sees his public service as giving back to society in return for what he has received. Few of his posts are paid work.
The recipe for keeping up with such a formidable workload: “Little sleep and hard work,” he says. “I get up in the morning at 4.30, and I make sure I’m in bed by midnight. I work towards peaks of concentration and keep meetings as short as possible. That way you can get a lot done.”
Dauwe is not, however, the national champion. That honour goes to the French speaker Jean-Pascal Labille with 59 posts, among them chairman of the board of the employment agency Forem, director of the RTBF and member of the board of numerous hospitals.
A total of 7,700 politicians and senior civil servants are required by law to register their employment, paid or unpaid, with the Court of Auditors. This year 331 have so far failed to do so, running the risk of a fine of up to €5,500.