epa10589188 Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (L) and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (R) pose prior to the second edition of the North Sea Summit in Ostend, Belgium, 24 April 2023. According to a press release by the Belgian government,the summit aims at harnessing the full potential of the North Sea to turn it into Europe’s largest power house. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET


Is Belgian Prime Minister De Croo set to launch bid for top EU job?



The EU’s migrant pact will be forced upon the Belgian public by prime minister Alexander De Croo, according to MEP Tom Vandendriessche.

Vandendriessche, who sits with the right-wing Identity and Democracy group in the European Parliament, thinks the Belgian PM will back the pact to the hilt “in order to land a high-profile international job.”

Talking to The Brussels Signal on the sidelines of a European Parliament event earlier this week, Vandendriessche said a past deal linking Belgium to the UN’s Marrakech Compact on Migration allowed Charles Michel to ascend to the top European Council job, and a similar deal is on the table for De Croo.

The signing of the Compact led to the downfall of the Belgian coalition; Michel was Belgian Prime Minister at the time. In the elections that followed Vandendriessche’s hard-right Vlaams Belang party did well, partly because it was against the UN migration deal.

Overriding opposition, Belgium signed the Compact and Charles Michel landed one of the European Union’s top jobs. Vandendriessche thinks current Prime Minister Alexander De Croo will try a similar trick. “Belgium will hold the presidency of the Council of the European Union between January and June 2024: exactly the time when the Commission wants to push through the [EU] migration pact. De Croo will use his leverage to do what Michel did and earn himself the international promotion he craves.”

The Brussels Signal  spoke with Vandendriessche after a cross-party press conference where representatives of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and Identity and Democracy (ID) swore they would fight the draft EU legislation.

“They simply want more migration. High skilled, but also low skilled. In fact, they want to decriminalise all forms of migration and make it all legal,” said Vandendriessche.

The European migration pact is nothing more than a conversion of the Marrakesh compact into European legislation, he said.

The global Compact, signed in Marrakesh in 2018, was designed to encourage nations to manage migration effectively. Although it was promoted as non-binding, Vandendriessche sees a direct link with the new European migrant pact, which he says will be binding if implemented.

“Only 55 per cent of the countries and 65 per cent of the population of the EU are needed to get this pact approved. Progressive governments such as those in France, Germany, and Spain alone already are in that camp, so they don’t need all that much.”  .

Alexander De Croo has been accused of seeking the media limelight with high-profile  appearances at the the Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg and the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, where he shared the stage with Coldplay, Ellie Goulding, Pharell Williams and Shakira.

The timing might be beneficial for De Croo, in that Michel reportedly has few friends in the EU bubble. Many diplomats accuse the current President of the European Council of not doing his job and focusing too much on the perks.