Petra De Sutter to become Belgian Deputy PM; leaves European Parliament's IMCO Committee chair vacant

The Greens/EFA MEP has been nominated Deputy Prime Minister for Public Enterprises and Civil Service in Belgium’s new Vivaldi coalition government.
Petra de Sutter

By Lorna Hutchinson

Lorna Hutchinson is Deputy Editor of The Parliament Magazine

01 Oct 2020

On announcement of the news on Thursday morning, Petra De Sutter tweeted, “Incredibly grateful for the trust I have received from my party. Last night, alongside 1,000 other members, I gave the green light for the new government. Now, with that government, I can do what is necessary to relaunch our country and work on a new future for all Belgians.”

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, following several days of intense talks, senior political party negotiators reached an agreement that would establish the first Belgian government in almost 500 days.

The newly-formed Belgian government, which will comprise a seven-party coalition across four political groups - dubbed the Vivaldi Coalition - will be led by Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats leader, Alexander de Croo.

De Sutter said, “Now it’s time to do what is necessary for the country, for every citizen, for those who are struggling, for the next generations. A new social, sustainable and ecological project for our country.”

De Sutter’s imminent departure from the European Parliament raises the question as to who will replace her as chair of the assembly's Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee.

“Now it’s time to do what is necessary for the country, for every citizen, for those who are struggling, for the next generations. A new social, sustainable and ecological project for our country” Petra De Sutter

De Sutter's departure from the European Parliament will undoubtedly also leave a void in the EU equality and health advocacy landscape. A vocal proponent of gender equality and LGBTI rights, she is member of Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup and as a world-renowned gynaecologist and fertility expert, she is a staunch campaigner for sexual health and reproductive rights as well as universal access issues.

Reaction to the news was swift, with the Greens/EFA Group saying, “Congratulations to our MEP and Chair of the IMCO committee Petra De Sutter, who has been nominated Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Enterprises and Public Service of Belgium. We wish you all the best for this appointment.”

Luxembourg S&D member and co-president of the LGBTI Intergroup, Marc Angel, said, "Congrats to my friend Petra. We will miss her in the European Parliament. She was a smart, hardworking Chair of the IMCO Committee and she has the right portion of humour! Good luck Petra."

The MEPs Against Cancer (MAC) Group also extended its congratulations to De Sutter, saying, "The MAC Group would like to extend its sincere gratitude to MEP De Sutter for having gone beyond her immediate duties to provide support to the EU cancer community. Good luck Petra!"

Fellow Greens deputy, Finnish MEP Ville Niinistö said, “Good luck Petra! We are going to miss you in the European Parliament but at the same time we are certain that you are going to do a great job for greening Belgium and Europe.”

Luxembourg Greens member Tilly Metz said, “Proficiat [congratulations] Petra De Sutter. Although we will miss you a lot at the European Parliament and Greens/EFA, I am very happy that from now on you will be contributing to a greener future for Belgium.”

“Although we will miss you a lot at the European Parliament and Greens/EFA, I am very happy that from now on you will be contributing to a greener future for Belgium” Tilly Metz MEP

Renew Europe deputy and fellow Belgian Hilde Vautmans said, “Congratulations to my colleague Petra De Sutter. We will miss you in the European Parliament, but you are undoubtedly going to do very well as Deputy Prime Minister.”

The European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF), of which De Sutter is President, also paid tribute, saying, “Congratulations to our EPF President and MEPs4SRR co-chair MEP Petra De Sutter, who has been nominated Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Enterprises and Public Service of Belgium. We wish you all the best for this appointment.”

Read the most recent articles written by Lorna Hutchinson - MEPs express outrage over Poland’s near-total ban on abortion

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