1. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR POLITICAL/LEADERSHIP STYLE IN THREE WORDS?
Realpolitik, realpolitik and realpolitik.
2. WHAT IS THE SMALLEST CHANGE YOU HAVE MADE IN YOUR CAREER THAT HAS HAD THE BIGGEST POSITIVE IMPACT?
The smallest has been to make no changes at all. To stay as I was back when I was taking my first professional steps as a government legal adviser. I also did not rush into politics, I waited, studied and worked. For what? For nothing in particular, I have been in politics since 1989 and I no longer see myself wearing the lawyer’s gown again. The mistakes of youth.
3. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU HAVE PERSONALLY ACHIEVED OR DONE THAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE?
I was a chess player in my youth. I spent ten years researching and writing a 1000 page book. And I enjoy trout fishing. People are surprised by the most normal things if those normal things are done by a politician.
4. WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME TO RELAX AND UNWIND?
I like to take a walk through the Foret de Soignes. But to really relax, I watch silly videos on social media. It requires very little attention and I find it rather therapeutic.
5. WHAT WAS THE MOST INSPIRATIONAL AND INFLUENTIAL BOOK YOU HAVE READ AND WHY?
No book has been as influential or inspiring as relationships with people for me, not even close. There were books that were influential in my youth, but I no longer expect them to inspire or influence me, it is enough that they explain to me well what they want to say. I have no patience for glitzy revelations. They end up disappointing. There is in that prose of the “Book”, in the singular and with capital letters, an authoritarian “I don’t know what”, with a raised nose and looking over their shoulders. Of a conceited “I am the truth and the life.” Digital books are more clay, less imposing, more malleable. You go back, of course, to Montaigne or Borges, whom I got to hear at a conference. You return to the public library of your town, and to the Tintin collection, from which you should never have left to grow and explore other readings. They told us “this child has the vice of reading” because we read under the sheets with a flashlight. That was reading