Controversy surrounding De Clerck’s compensation

Politics: A total of €270,000 might go to the former minister, now the new president of Belgacom.

 

The federal government selected the former minister, Stefaan De Clerck (CD&V), to take over Belgacom as its president, replacing Michel Moll. He will resign his parliamentary position as of October 8 to assume this new position. Controversy is brewing not so much regarding his appointment as the head of the semi-public provider, but because of his parliamentary compensation – too generous according to some. In its weekend edition The Echo mentions a total of €270,000, or, as the ex-justice minister puts it, “enough compensation for me to live on for two and one half years.”

 

Pieter De Crem, the CD&V vice-prime minister, has already lent his support to his party colleague. “Stefaan De Clerck has been a very good member of parliament,” he said, adding that the compensation is commensurate “with his status”. While De Clerck first stated that he would not give up his “parachute” (“Should I turn down what I’m owed just because I decided to make a lateral move by accepting the position of president of Belgacom?”), he modified his position over the weekend.

 

On local western Flemish TV, Focus/WTV, De Clerck announced he would use his chamber severance bonus to support cultural and social initiatives in the Kortrijk region. We remember the days when Emily Hoyos (Ecolo) renounced her severance benefits (to the tune of €120,000) when she left her position as president of the Walloon parliament last year to assume presidency of the Ecolo party. Just for consistency, she sharply criticized José Happart in 2009 who left the presidency of the Walloon parliament €530,000 richer. In 2011, the Open-VLD deputy, Sven Gatz, also renounced his €300,000 bonus right after Inge Vervotte (CD&V) and Yves Leterme (CD&V). The State Reform Agreement provides that “parliamentary severance bonuses will be eliminated in case of voluntary resignation during a term.” Until then, the bonus is “legal” regardless of the reason for resigning, such as leaving for the private sector, failure to be reelected, or loss of a seat when an alternate representative takes it over It’s not applicable though, if the former parliamentary becomes a minister, ambassador, governor or member of parliament in another assembly or if he obtains a position in the constitutional court.

 

 F.V.

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