Belgium’s “invisible” PM counters criticism

Belgian premier Sophie Wilmès (Francophone liberal) has responded to criticism of the security council’s decision to allow limited access to care homes for the elderly for visitors. Ms Wilmès insisted there was no obligation for care homes to implement the guideline drawn up by the body that groups representatives of Belgium’s federal and devolved governments.

Care homes only need to let visitors in when they are ready, she argued, though the decision offers residents hope.

The prime minister also responded to criticism that she was “invisible”.

“I communicate when there is something important to say.  I understand that there is a demand for greater presence in the media, but the demand to be at work is even greater.”

Speaking on VRT radio she said: “I am here today; I was on TV yesterday.  I held a speech.  I’m somebody who communicates when there is something important that needs saying. I have a lot of work with my team.  There are a lot of people who can communicate in the media.”

“Working behind the scenes, that is the real job.  In the federal government, the regions, the municipalities, in the hospitals and care homes, everybody is working against the virus.  Many of us are not getting enough sleep, but it’s absolute necessity.  We are a good team and are working as well as possible in difficult circumstances.”