Friday, May 20

Belgian Foreign Minister temporarily leaves office due to her husband’s cancer

The Belgian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Sophie Wilmés, is leaving office “immediately” to accompany her husband, Christopher, in his fight against diagnosed brain cancer. She thus announced it in a statement distributed on social networks this Thursday. “Life sometimes, and unfortunately, takes painful turns”, she has written herself: “Therefore, in coordination with the Prime Minister [Alexander De Croo] and my party [MR, liberales francófonos]I have made the decision to immediately withdraw from my current ministerial functions, without any remuneration.

“Today, the disease has suddenly burst into our lives and, in particular, that of my husband, Christopher, who must begin, like many men, women and children, a fight against aggressive brain cancer,” wrote the former first minister.

The Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, will assume the duties of Foreign Minister in his absence, while David Clarinval, Minister for the Middle Classes, SMEs and Agriculture, will assume the role of Deputy Prime Minister, responsible for Foreign Trade, while Mathieu Michel, Secretary of State for Digital Agenda, Administrative Simplification, Protection of Private Life and Building Management, will be in charge of bicultural institutions.

Before assuming the Foreign Affairs portfolio in the De Croo Government, Wilmès was Acting Prime Minister of Belgium between October 2019 and October 2020, after Charles Michel became President of the European Council.

“Terrible news. Much courage and strength to Sophie, Christopher and her children,” Prime Minister De Croo tweeted.