"Keep politics and businesses separated"

The resignation of Bpost CEO Johnny Thijs triggered a lot of reactions, sparking an intense debate. Former Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene (Christian democrat) joined those that blame the federal government. "I can understand his decision very well. The federal government shouldn't have interfered - by cutting his wage, red - and will get in trouble on more occasions in the future if it continues this policy."

Johnny Thijs announced on Monday that he is not interested in an extension to his 10-year contract at the helm of the Belgian mail company Bpost, a semi-publicly-owned business. His decision came after the government had announced to cut his salary by half, reducing it from 1.1 million to 650,000 euros in hard economic times.

The government claims that the wage of a CEO should not exceed that of the Prime Minister. "You can't compare the two", Mr Dehaene told the VRT. "You should accept the specificity of businesses."

The senior politician thinks it's wrong that the government interferes with the managing of publicly-owned companies. "I think they should refrain from doing that. It's up to the board of directors to take up their responsibility, just like in the case of corporate governance. The federal government will always get in trouble if it keeps crossing this line."