Princess Astrid to quit Red Cross

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The Royal Palace has announced that Princess Astrid will not be standing for a new term as Chairwoman of the Belgian Red Cross.

December 11 2007

Princess Astrid's term as the organisation's Chairwoman will come to an end on 31 December 2007. (Belga) Despite not planning to carry on as Chairwoman, Princess Astrid intends to carry on supporting the projects and organisations that have received help during her period at the helm of the Belgian Red Cross.

The Palace says that Princess Astrid will be open to requests for support from other NGOs that are involved in humanitarian work at home or abroad.

The Princess took  the opportunity to thank the 25,000 people that do voluntary work for the Belgian Red Cross.

She said in a statement that "the constant selfless efforts by the volunteers have always been a great source of inspiration and encouragement." Divided according to language
The Belgian Red Cross is subdivided into three separate associations to reflect Belgium's three language communities. (Belga) Each of the three associations are separate legal entities and enjoy complete financial autonomy.

However, the fact that the International Red Cross only recognises one Red Cross group per country means that the three associations have to cooperate closely.

There was trouble earlier this year when the Flemish wing of the Belgian Red Cross demanded the sacking of Princess Astrid's personal assistant at the organisation Stefanie Rutten after a dispute about the Red Cross' budget.

The Flemings are particularly disgruntled about the financial deficit run up by the organisation's Francophone wing.

Princess Astrid has been the Chairwoman of the Belgian Red Cross since 1994.


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