“Belgium to put forward a name by Thursday”

One of the two men charged with bringing about the formation of a new Federal Government has said that Belgium will put forward the name of a candidate for the post of EU Commissioner by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest. Kris Peeters (Flemish Christian democrat) told VRT news that those involved in the federal coalition negotiations will comply with the three-day time limit issued by the European Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker on Sunday.

However, Mr Peeters remained tight-lipped about the name Belgium will put forward to the European Commission.

As a member of the Flemish Christian democrats, Mr Peeters is supporting his party colleague and MEP Marianne Thyssen’s candidature. However, a so-called “co-formateur”, Mr Peeters refused to give any indication as to whether Mrs Thyssen or the Francophone liberal Didier Reynders will be Belgium’s new EU Commissioner.

"I’m looking to find a good solution that everyone involved in the coalition talks can support. This is what we will be working on in the hours and days ahead.”

However, the chance that the Belgian European Commissioner will be a woman is real as Mr Juncker (bottom photo) needs another woman in his Commission Team. Failure to find another female Commissioner could result in the European Parliament refusing to approve the new European Commission.

“We must put forward a good candidate and we will announce who this is to be once we have an agreement and not before. In politics everything is linked. It is important that everyone is happy with the candidate we put forward”, Mr Peeters added.

Kris Peeters also refused to be drawn on whether he would be prepared to give up his ambitions to become the new Belgian Prime Minister if that was what it took to ensure that Marianne Thyssen could become a European Commissioner.

“It’s not until the very end of the negotiations that the posts are shared out. However, unfortunately this is being brought forward now. As far as I’m concerned a good coalition agreement is the most important thing and where I end up is of secondary or tertiary importance”.