Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib (MR) asked Belgian diplomats across Europe to campaign in favor of Didier Reynders (also MR), writes Knack on Tuesday. The Belgian European Commissioner is a candidate for the post of Secretary General of the Council of Europe. The De Croo government validated this application at the beginning of January.
In an email sent to Belgian diplomats, which Knack was able to consult, Hadja Lahbib asked them to take “steps at the highest possible level” with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country where they are to support the candidacy of Mr. Reynders”. These procedures had to take place before January 24, because the first evaluation of applications to the Council of Europe will take place on January 25, i.e. Thursday.
Hadja Lahbib also asked Belgian diplomacy to quickly report on the results of its efforts. Belgian diplomats will also soon be responsible for personally contacting members of the General Assembly of the Council of Europe.
To strengthen the candidacy of the former head of Belgian diplomacy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote his curriculum vitae as well as a note covering the key points of Mr. Reynders’ campaign. A ministry employee was entrusted with managing the file.
Steps which are justified, according to Foreign Affairs, by the terms of appointment to this position. “The secretary general is first appointed following an election among the 46 member states of the Council of Europe. Secondly at the level of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. It is common for diplomatic representations to be made to all member states for this purpose,” commented Foreign Affairs on Tuesday evening.
In another email from Hadja Lahbib, Belgian diplomacy is also asked to support the candidacy of Isabelle Durant (Ecolo) for the post of EU special representative for human rights. Unlike the detailed briefing about Didier Reynders, this email would only be three lines long, notes the Dutch-speaking magazine. The candidacy of Ms. Durant is “also an important candidacy for our country and it receives all our support and attention, but the designation is done in a completely different way”, recalls Foreign Affairs. It is the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, “who must appoint the candidate after a selection. It is therefore not an election among EU member states, but a choice by HRVP Borrell which will be validated by the member states.”
This article is originally published on 7sur7.be