Sophie Wilmès takes leave of absence as Belgian foreign minister – POLITICO

Belgian Foreign Minister — and former prime minister — Sophie Wilmès is stepping right down to care of her sick husband, she introduced on Twitter on Thursday, with Prime Minister Alexander De Croo taking cost of the international affairs portfolio.

Wilmès’ husband, Christopher, has mind most cancers. She stated that offering care and doing her job — which she stated requires “rigor, availability and a total commitment” — would “not allow me to provide the help and comfort that Christopher and our children will need during this difficult period.” As a end result, she stated she was stepping away in the interim.

During her go away, her portfolios — which embrace international affairs, European affairs, international commerce and Belgium’s federal cultural establishments — will likely be coated by De Croo, from the Flemish liberal celebration Open VLD, and two of her fellow Francophone liberals, David Clarinval and Mathieu Michel.

De Croo will inherit the most important portfolio, taking up international and European affairs, which is more likely to gas rumors that he’s searching for a high worldwide job after his tenure as prime minister ends.

Clarinval, at the moment in control of agriculture, will deal with international commerce.

Michel, who’s secretary of state in control of digitalization and is the brother of European Council President Charles Michel, will handle the federal cultural establishments.

A comparatively unknown determine till she led the nation by way of the preliminary waves of the coronavirus pandemic, Wilmès was the nation’s first feminine prime minister, main a caretaker authorities from 2019 to 2020. She was made international minister when De Croo took over as head of the federal government.

Wilmès’ identify circulated as a doable contender to be the subsequent NATO secretary common, though incumbent Jens Stoltenberg’s time period has now been prolonged.

Wilmès and her household will think about the subsequent steps of her profession in the course of the summer time, her assertion stated. If Wilmès have been to resign as minister, it’s probably her portfolio could be divided up, as a variety of Belgian diplomats and officers stated they have been anxious about one individual dealing with a lot in the course of the Belgian presidency of the Council of the EU in 2024.

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