24 July 2007
BRUSSELS – Formateur Yves Leterme apologised on Monday evening to the people he may have offended by getting the Brabançonne (Belgian National Anthem) and the Marseillaise (French anthem) mixed up. At the press conference about his formation paper he admitted that he had made a mistake.
In Francophone Belgium, his ignorance of the origin of the national feast day and the Brabançonne caused some commotion.
On Monday Leterme admitted to having erred on Saturday. “I know the Brabançonne well in Dutch, but when I was asked to sing it in French and the circumstances were not ideal…”
“But if you then sing the Marseillaise, that is wrong and a mistake. If I have upset people by doing that, I wish to apologise to them”, stated Leterme, who added that the conclusions drawn from such an incident were somewhat exaggerated.
Leterme also countered the criticism concerning his mobile phone call during the Te Deum. According to him, it was a call he received from his father. “Knowing the condition of my father, I would do the same tomorrow”, was his response.
Strangely though, he was unwilling to repeat his explanation of the incidents and his apologies in French.
[Copyright Expatica News 2007]
Subject: Belgian news