“This leak of information will not be easy for my party.”

Former Foreign Minister I had to leave a month ago After a discussion arose about reducing value-added tax on gas and electricity and related tax reform. It had not yet factored in the higher excise duty in the budget it submitted to the European Commission, while de Croo insisted the VAT cut was in fact budget-neutral.

De Bleecker says he has received a lot of support from friends, family and even strangers. She made sure to keep busy because it was “therapeutic” for her.

“You managed to put it down, you made it work,” I looked back. She hopes the many friendships she’s built within Open Vld will survive all the fuss. “I have been in the party for more than thirty years. I know people in all departments. I also have real political friends.” It is not clear if Prime Minister Alexander de Croo is still there. She received “some WhatsApp messages” from him after her dismissal.

in good conscience

She says de Bleecker deliberately kept herself in the background so as not to interfere in the budget debate. “It is now up to my successor (Alexia Bertrand, ed.) to have this discussion. I also wished her all the best for it,” says de Bleecker.

The former foreign minister stressed that the budget “is not an exact science.” “You estimate the available and required budgets. There are different opinions and points of view on this matter. The budget has now been voted on and now we have to move forward.”

When asked if she did something wrong, de Bleecker doesn’t want to answer. “I made my decisions conscientiously and thoughtfully. It is not appropriate to revisit everything afterwards. Now I look forward.”

Despite everything, the relationship with her party is still good, she said. The lines have always remained open. We have continued to talk to each other and there is an understanding of everyone’s point of view. Everyone understands that it was difficult. It certainly was not easy for my party to have a member of my government come forward with information. But there is also an understanding of something: this person also worked hard. Sometimes a person explodes under pressure like that.”

De Bleecker also intends to remain politically active. “Political commitment isn’t a switch you can turn on and off. That passion is still there and there will always be. I’m not going to take that away with that one hit,” she says. De Bleeker wants to see how she wants to fulfill that commitment and what role she will play in the coming weeks and months. She certainly does not rule out being on the list in 2024.

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