Brussels: Capital of a neo-liberal Europe
Photo: Guy Verhofstadt and his mentor, Willy Declercq
Willy De Clercq (8 July 1927 – 28 October 2011) was a Belgian liberal politician.
After his law and notariat studies at the University of Ghent and a scholarship at Syracuse University (Syracuse, United States), De Clerq became a lawyer at the Court of appeal in Ghent and a professor at Ghent University and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Although he could have had a successful career in law, he got into politics. He was member of the Liberal youth and was elected municipal councillor and member of parliament.
De Clercq served in various coalition governments. He was secretary of state for the budget (1960–1961), deputy prime minister and minister of the budget from 1966 to 1968, deputy prime minister and minister of Finances in 1973–1974, minister of Finances in 1974–1977 and deputy prime minister in 1980.
De Clercq served as president of various international monetary instances and as president of the then liberal party PVV. He served for a term as a member of the European Commission (1985–1989). Moreover he became Minister of State in 1985. From 1989 to 2004 he was a member of the European Parliament.
In 2003, he created together with other prominent European personalities the Medbridge Strategy Center, whose goal is 'to promote dialogue and mutual understanding between Europe and the Middle-East.'
In the 21 July 2006 honours, Willy De Clercq and his wife, Fernande Fazzi, were both separately ennobled in the rank of 'viscount'.
Photo: Verhofstadt; Jacques Delors, Founding President of ‘Notre Europe’ and Etienne Davignon.
Guy Verhofstadt dreams of a federal European superstate: “A federal EU is the only option. The EU should have its own president, foreign minister, army and prosecutor” – Verhofstadt on Lybia: “The weak position of the EU makes me sick” – Verhofstadt on Syria: “The time for peace talks is over, we need action now. If the UN doesn’t react, then NATO should.”
In 2004, Verhofstadt was suggested as a candidate to replace Romano Prodi as the next President of the European Commission.
In the 2009 European Parliament election, he was elected a member of the European Parliament for the term 2009–2014. He also has been put forward as the possible candidate for replacing José Manuel Barroso as the president of the European Commission by a coalition of greens, socialists and liberals.
On July 1, 2009 he was elected President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group in the European Parliament.
Verhofstadt is also a member of the Club de Madrid, an organization of more than 80 former statesmen. The group works to promote ‘democratic governance and leadership worldwide’.
Since 2012 is Verhofstadt a Board Member of the Brussels-based, Brussels-quoted Sofina holding (petroleum gas and oil platforms). He can look forward to a fee which is in line with that of the other directors, who last year received an amount between 42.000 134.000 euros. The Belgian industrialist Viscount Etienne Davignon is Honorary Director of Sofina.
Current directorships and offices held by Davignon: Chairman of Compagnie Maritime Belge, Compagnie des Wagons-Lits, Recticel, Sibeka, SN Airholding and Palais des Beaux-Arts (Belgium), Vice-Chairman of SUEZ-TRACTEBEL (Belgium), Director of Accor (France), Cumerio, Real Software, SN Brussels Airlines (Belgium), and Gilead (United States).
He is Chairman of the Bilderberg Group and of CSR Europe.
According to the Suez website, Davignon holds 11,111 Suez shares, which are currently worth more than 350,000 euro.
Verhofstadt pleads actually for supply of heavy weapons to the so called ‘Free Syrian Army’. It is part of Verhofstadt’s idea of a Greater Europe with its own army. On 20 February 2009 the European Parliament voted in favour of the creation of Synchronised Armed Forces Europe (SAFE) as a first step towards a true European military force. SAFE will be directed by an EU directorate, with its own training standards and operational doctrine. There are also plans to create an EU “Council of Defence Ministers” and “a European statute for soldiers within the framework of Safe governing training standards, operational doctrine and freedom of operational action”.
Photo: Chief of Staff of the so called ‘Free Syrian Army’ Gen. Salim Idris addresses the media after he discussed the situation in Syria with Guy Verhofstadt, right, at the European Parliament in Brussels, March 6, 2013. Verhofstadt pleads for supply of heavy weapons to Idris but a number of reports indicate that Verhofstadt lies and that the weapons were already delivered…
June 15 2012 – ‘US holds high-level talks with Syrian rebels seeking weapons in Washington’:
February 23, 2013 – ‘In Syria, new influx of weapons to rebels tilts the battle against Assad’:
February 24, 2013 – Syria. Saudis supply heavy weapons to so-called ‘moderate rebels’:
March 28, 2013 – ‘Saudi heavy weapons supply to Syrian rebels breaks up Arab summit in uproar’: