New federal government ministers take up posts

Summary

N-VA takes several key posts in the new coalition government, including finance, defence and speaker of the house

18 members sworn in

After months of negotiations, the new Belgian government was sworn in by King Filip over the weekend. The new prime minister, Charles Michel of the French-speaking liberals, takes over from French-speaking socialist Elio Di Rupo to lead a centre-right coalition government.

Several key posts in the administration have gone to the Flemish nationalists N-VA, the party with the largest share of the votes. The post of finance minister is now in the hands of Johan Van Overtveldt, former editor of financial magazine Trends, who has to grapple with the continuing fallout from the crisis in the eurozone, while Theo Francken has been awarded asylum, migration and administrative simplification.

N-VA’s Jan Jambon becomes interior minister as well as being in charge of the government buildings agency, which is currently under investigation for fraud. Steven Vandeput has been put in charge of defence and the civil service, while Elke Sleurs is responsible for anti-poverty, anti-fraud and science policy. The prestigious post of speaker of the house goes to Siegfried Bracke.

Flanders’ former minister-president Kris Peeters of the Christian-democrats (CD&V), who had at one point been tipped as the next prime minister, has been appointed federal minister for work, economic affairs and consumer affairs.

Koen Geens of CD&V takes over as justice minister, while Pieter De Crem, the former defence minister, becomes the state secretary for foreign trade.

The popular Flemish liberal Maggie De Block (Open VLD) moves from asylum policy to become minister for public health and social affairs. Another Flemish liberal, Alexander De Croo, takes over as minister for international development, digital society, telecoms and postal services, while Bart Tommelein will serve in the new administration as secretary of state for privacy, the North Sea and combatting social fraud.

Meanwhile, the French-speaking liberals, MR, have secured a large number of posts in relation to their share of the votes. They have kept Didier Reynders in his old post at the ministry of foreign affairs, while Hervé Jamar is in charge of the budget, and Willy Borsus takes over the portfolio for SMEs, agriculture and social integration.

When the list was announced, some critics complained about the lack of women in the new government. MR altered the balance by announcing at the last minute two more women in the cabinet – Marie-Christine Marghem was given energy, environment and sustainable development while Jacqueline Galant was put in charge of mobility.

Photo, from left: Kris Peeters, Charles Michel, Jacqueline Galant and Alexander De Croo enter the palace on Saturday to be sworn in

N-VA takes several key posts in the new coalition government, including finance, defence and speaker of the house.

LinkedIn this

Belgian government

Belgium is a federal state made up of three regions and three communities, based on language (Dutch, French and German). The federal level is responsible for issues such as justice, defence, finances and foreign affairs – matters that affect the entire country. Belgium is also a constitutional monarchy.
Regions - The regions are comparable to American states or German Länder. They are geographical entities, responsible for matters related to their territory, such as public works, environment and economy. Belgium’s three regions are the Flemish Region, the Brussels-Capital Region and the Walloon Region.
Communities - Communities are responsible for matters that directly affect residents, such as education, welfare and culture. Belgium’s three communities are the Flemish Community, the French Community and the German Community.
Flanders - Although regions and communities do not overlap exactly, the Flemish Region and the Flemish Community have merged into the Flemish government. Its official language is Dutch. The Flemish Parliament sits in Brussels, which is the official capital city of Flanders (as well as Belgium).
11

population of Belgium in millions of people, with 6.2 million living in Flanders.

6

number of state reforms that have resulted in the federal system as it is today.

4

number of years for which the federal House of Representatives and the Senate are elected.