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‘Politician prince’ in hot water again

Published on 04/02/2005

4 February 2005

BRUSSELS — For the second time in as many months, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has told Prince Philippe to stay out of politics and mind his own business.

The latest spat was sparked when Philippe signed a statement issued by the Belgian industries federation FEB calling for a re-orientation of the EU’s Lisbon strategy.

Specifically, the statement called for a greater liberalization of the economy as well as new socio-economic reforms.

The federation unveiled its missive on the same day that Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso sought to relaunch of the strategy, first unveiled in 2000.

A spokesman for the FEB told La Derniere Heure newspaper that the prince is often an official witness, but the prime minister disagreed.

“I’m counting on this never happening again the future,” he said in a speech before the national Parliament.

In December, Verhofstadt also lambasted Philippe for publicly stating that the right-wing extreme Vlaams Belang party was out to destroy Belgium.

One observer told La Derniere Heure that while the two incidents on their own are not serious on their own, taken together they are of such a nature as to divide the country.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news