"I don't have the habit of kissing people I don't know very well"

The new State Secretary for the Battle against Poverty and Fraud as well as Science Policy, Elke Sleurs of the N-VA, has reacted to the fact that she was the only woman in the Prime Minister's new team who didn't get a welcome kiss from the new PM Charles Michel when the ministers took the oath at the royal palace on Saturday.

Speaking in the VRT's current affairs programme on Sunday morning, 'De Zevende Dag', she said "I have no idea why I didn't get a kiss, but I don't hold it against the Prime Minister." She added she didn't really mind: "I don't have the habit of kissing people I don't know very well, anyway. In any case, it was not part of the official protocol." Ms Sleurs continued with a smile: "But we will see what happens in the coming months."

The new government has 4 female ministers or state secretaries, but Elke Sleurs was the only one to miss out on a kiss on the cheek when they were greeted by PM Charles Michel in the royal palace yesterday for the occasion of the oath of allegiance ceremony.