Verhofstadt’s dream of a federal European superstate: “A federal EU is the only option. The EU should have its own president, foreign minister, army and prosecutor” – Verhofstadt on Lybia: “The weak position of the EU makes me sick” – Verhofstadt on Syria: “The time for peace talks is over, we need action now. If the UN doesn’t react, then NATO should.”
Verhofstadt became president of the Flemish Liberal Student’s Union (1972–1974) while studying law at the University of Ghent. He quickly became the secretary of Willy De Clercq, who was at that time the president of the Flemish liberal party (Party for ‘Freedom and Progress, PVV). In 1982, at age 29, he became president of the party.In 1985 Verhofstadt was elected into the Chamber of Deputies, and became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Budget under Prime Minister Wilfried Martens. Because of his economic views and his young age, he became known as “Baby Thatcher“. Another nickname from that era is “da joenk“, a Brabantian dialect expression meaning “that kid” (in a pejorative sense, referring to his rather iconoclastic and immature style).In 2004, Verhofstadt was suggested as a candidate to replace Romano Prodi as the next President of the European Commission.
In the 2009 European Parliament election, he was elected a member of the European Parliament for the term 2009–2014. He also has been put forward as the possible candidate for replacing José Manuel Barroso as the president of the European Commission by a coalition of greens, socialists and liberals.
On July 1, 2009 he was elected President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group in the European Parliament.
Verhofstadt is also a member of the Club de Madrid, an organization of more than 80 former statesmen. The group works to promote ‘democratic governance and leadership worldwide’.
Since 2012 is Verhofstadt a Board Member of the Brussels-based, Brussels-quoted Sofina holding (petroleum gas and oil platforms). He can look forward to a fee which is in line with that of the other directors, who last year received an amount between 42.000 134.000 euros. The Belgian industrialist Viscount Etienne Davignon is Honorary Director of Sofina.
Current directorships and offices held by Davignon: Chairman of Compagnie Maritime Belge, Compagnie des Wagons-Lits, Recticel, Sibeka, SN Airholding and Palais des Beaux-Arts (Belgium), Vice-Chairman of SUEZ-TRACTEBEL (Belgium), Director of Accor (France), Cumerio, Real Software, SN Brussels Airlines (Belgium), and Gilead (United States).
He is Chairman of the Bilderberg Group and of CSR Europe.
According to the Suez website, Davignon holds 11,111 Suez shares, which are currently worth more than 350,000 euro.
Verhofstadt pleads actually for supply of heavy weapons to the so called ‘Free Syrian Army’. It is part of Verhofstadt’s idea of a Greater Europe with its own army. On 20 February 2009 the European Parliament voted in favour of the creation of Synchronised Armed Forces Europe (SAFE) as a first step towards a true European military force. SAFE will be directed by an EU directorate, with its own training standards and operational doctrine. There are also plans to create an EU “Council of Defence Ministers” and “a European statute for soldiers within the framework of Safe governing training standards, operational doctrine and freedom of operational action”.
Photo 1: Verhofstadt and his ‘political father’, Willy De Clercq.
Photo 2: Guy Verhofstadt, MEP and President of ALDE Group; Mr Jacques Delors, Founding President of ‘Notre Europe’ and Etienne Davignon.
Guy Verhofstadt: “De Clercq was my political father” (video)