Federal PM responds to criticism of Friday evening’s press conference

The Federal Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès (Francophone liberal) has told VRT television’s Sunday morning news and current affairs programme ‘De zevende dag’ that she accepts that the press conference that followed Friday’s meeting of the National Security Council could have been presented better. However, she added that the fact that the press conference didn’t start until after 10pm was due to a tradition in Belgium that decisions made are communicated straight away. 

“In Belgium we have a tradition of communicating the decisions we have taken straight away. This is important because many don’t wait for a decision before they start communicating. This creates confusion and obliges us to communicate straight away. This is what we did. The way we did it could have been better. But the timing is how Belgium works”.

Ms Wilmès added that it was “normal” that the meeting of the National Security Council had lasted 7 hours. "We must realise that we had been rethinking the organisation of the lives of the entire population. We are currently in a so-called lockdown and we now need to think about how this can be relaxed. This is complex as it concerns all aspects of our lives. This is why it took 7 hours, but in fact it took longer as we had been meeting with the regions and language communities all week”.