KAREL LODEWIJK GEORGETTE EMMERENCE DE GUCHT (Dutch pronunciation: ; born 27 January 1954) is a Belgian politician who was the European Commissioner for Trade from February 2010 until 31 October 2014. Previously, he served as Belgium's Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2004 to 2009 and as the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response from 2009 to 2010.
* 1 Life and career * 2 European commissioner * 3 Controversies * 4 Honours * 5 Publications * 6 References * 7 External links
LIFE AND CAREER
De Gucht was born in
Belgium . He entered politics at a
young age, and became president of the Flemish Liberal Students while
studying at the
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
He became a member of the European Parliament in 1980 and fulfilled this mandate until 1994. In 1989 he was the rapporteur of a landmark Parliamentary Declaration on the Fundamental Rights, leading eventually to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union , which was later integrated as an essential part of the Treaty of Lisbon .
He entered the Flemish Parliament after the elections of 1994 and moved to the Belgian Federal Parliament in 2003, where he remained until 2004. In 1999 he was elected party president of the Flemish liberal party ( Open Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten ). Although he was elected to the Federal Parliament in the general election on 18 May 2003 and to the European Parliament in the elections of June 2004, he occupied the first seat only very briefly and the second not at all.
He entered the Belgian government on 18 July 2004 as Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs . He served as deputy prime minister in 2008-2009. He was Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in 2006. He was a Member of the Security Council of the United Nations (2007–08) and Member of the European Council (2004–09).
In July 2009 he was appointed as the Belgian European Commissioner, in succession of Louis Michel . Like his predecessor, he was in charge of Development and Humanitarian Aid, but from February 2010 onwards, he became Commissioner of Trade in the Barroso II Commission , until 31 October 2014.
He prepared and launched free trade negotiations with the United
States , the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
(TTIP). He achieved important trade agreements, among others with
De Gucht performed his ultimate duty as a commissioner by signing in
Nairobi on 31 October 2014 the agreement with the Eastern African
Community (EAC), consisting of
De Gucht played a key role in the conclusion of a comprehensive trade
agreement between the
European Union and
At the end of his mandate he enjoyed a strong reputation within the European Commission because of the progression in the trade portfolio during his mandate and because of his strong views on European policy questions. At the end of this mandate he decided to leave politics, except on the local level, where he will be the chairman of the local council.
Karel De Gucht
On a trip to Africa in late 2004, De Gucht sparked a diplomatic controversy when he said that "there is a problem with the political class in the Congo " and questioned its ability to tackle corruption. De Gucht received a lot of informal support in diplomatic circles and media and refused to retract his statement. Subsequent news stories suggested his concerns were well-founded.
In November 2008 he was accused by an anonymous person and by the
president of the extreme-right party
Most recently De Gucht prompted the biggest controversies by his active promotion of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), currently under negotiation between the EU and the USA. Some critics have accused De Gucht of being over-enthusiastic about the TTIP, playing down potential risks to European small and medium-sized companies associated with the so-called Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, and even of ignoring public concerns about the ISDS.
De Gucht is married to Mireille Schreurs, who is a judge. They live in Berlare and they have two sons, Frédéric and Jean-Jacques De Gucht .
* Pluche – Over de banalisering van extreem rechts , Houtekiet, 2007. * De toekomst is vrij : over het liberalisme in de 21ste eeuw , Houtekiet, 2002. * Het einde der pilaren : een Toscaans gesprek - with MEP Johan Van Hecke, Houtekiet, 2001. * Er zijn geen eilanden meer: over de democratie, vrijheid en de mensrechten , with Dirk Sterckx MEP, Houtekiet, 1999. * Time and tide wait for no man: the changing European geopolitical landscape, Praeger Publishers, 1991.
* ^ "The Commissioners (2010–2014): Karel De Gucht", European Commission * ^ European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid * ^ "OSCE\'s Belgian Chairmanship says helped start new chapter for Organization". Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 5 December 2006. Retrieved 3 October 2014. * ^ Exit interview De Gucht * ^ De Guchts ends as European commissioner * ^ " Belgium rounds on former colony". BBC News Online . 18 October 2004. Retrieved 6 January 2010. * ^ "DR Congo slams \'Tintin\' minister". BBC News Online . 22 October 2004. * ^ "De Gucht: "Fortis-aandelen zijn pure privézaak"". De Morgen (in Dutch). 15 January 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2013. * ^ "Did you take action on ISDS? EU Trade Commissioner says you didn’t". The European Free Alliance (EFA) Group in the European Parliament . 27 July 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2015. * ^ http://isap.sejm.gov.pl/DetailsServlet?id=WMP20050090162