“With his aborted candidacy for the European election, he shot himself in the foot”

“With his aborted candidacy for the European election, he shot himself in the foot”
“With his aborted candidacy for the European election, he shot himself in the foot”

“Frankly, I don’t know what the party is going to do with Charles Michel, in my opinion not much.” In the corridors of the MR, the question about the professional future of the President of the European Council is brushed aside. The party has other priorities at the moment, the formation of majorities at all levels of power. Not to mention that Brabançon is no longer really popular with the Reformers, starting with its president. “Georges-Louis Bouchez has freed himself from the Michel family, he no longer needs their support,” underlines an internal source. “I would even say more, GLB did not appreciate the attacks which would have come from the Michel clan a few months ago, when the president had to face a massive internal rebellion also supported from Jodoigne, historic stronghold of the Michel family”. However, Louis Michel was full of praise for GLB a few days ago in our media. “Louis Michel has a double problem, he must ensure the future of Charles but also of his younger brother Mathieu Michel, who did not make a big score in Walloon Brabant,” notes another tenor of the MR.

Europe or nothing…

“With his aborted candidacy for the European election, he clearly shot himself in the foot. And given the score that Sophie Wilmès made, her legitimacy took a hit. Clearly, his glory days are behind him,” a close friend of the “Michel clan” tells us. This winter, Charles Michel announced his candidacy for Europe with a short-lived resignation from the presidency of the European Council, before making a 180° turnaround and returning to his starting point.

“He burned some of his cartridges. Xavier Bettel (Editor’s note, Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg) told him not to change his mind,” notes another close friend; however defending the work accomplished by the Belgian as President of the Council: “I have had testimonies from elected officials, including other political parties such as ecologists, saying that he did a good job at the Europe”. Another very seasoned liberal goes in the same direction in more laudatory terms: “Charles has received nothing but congratulations from all the groups in the European Parliament. He did a crazy job and it wasn’t easy.”

However, we point out to our laudatory interlocutor that an article in Le Figaro published on Monday describes the maneuvers of Charles Michel to torpedo the President of the Commission, the German Ursula von der Leyen, candidate for her own succession at the head of the European executive. . The strained relations between the two date back to the Sofagate affair. In 2021 during a joint meeting in Ankara, von der Leyen was relegated to a separate sofa while Michel and Erdogan, the Turkish president, sat next to each other in armchairs. “It’s a grotesque lie. Charles is not an idiot. He knows that such attacks would turn against him,” replies the seasoned liberal, who reveals that the criticism of Charles Michel has been a blow to his morale: “He is rebuilding himself.”

In the past, there has been talk of a possible retraining of Charles Michel at the European Investment Bank, or even at the Organization of La Francophonie. The Belgian can always count on the support of his friend Emmanuel Macron, but who also has other fish to fry at the moment, in a France under high tension after the dissolution of the National Assembly. “I think he will end up getting a position in a European institution, probably not as prestigious as his current position, but enough not to be left empty-handed,” we are told. “He could also turn to the private sector,” says a relative.

€32,700 gross per month

Like the deputies who lose their seat, Charles Michel has a parachute to be able to turn around, as explained by Cédric Istasse, editor-in-chief of Crisp. The outgoing president is entitled to a monthly transitional allowance equal to the period during which he exercised his functions. Even if he has been in office since 2019, it cannot be more than two years. It corresponds to 50% of the basic salary received by the holder. When he took office almost five years ago, his gross salary was €32,700 per month. The right to transition compensation ceases if the person has a new mandate in a European institution. The compensation is also reduced if he finds a job elsewhere.

A return to the Belgian political scene seems very unlikely. “If Sophie goes to Europe and Georges-Louis ends up minister-president of Wallonia, Charles Michel could undoubtedly present himself as a candidate for the presidency of the MR. Some people only see that for him. But will he have the necessary support internally? I doubt. And in any case, I can’t imagine Georges-Louis letting this happen. In short, within the MR, we don’t really see what he could become, but we still can’t put him in a closet, given his status,” explains a close friend of the “Michel clan”. “We did not feel much enthusiasm during his lightning return to the Belgian countryside,” judges an elected MR. “I think Bouchez will keep the presidency, he likes it too much and above all, he has set a new objective, to take as many cities and towns as possible in the next local elections. “And then Bouchez took a series of directions for the party which do not really correspond to Charles,” notes a close elected official.

-

-

NEXT Antilles threatened by Hurricane Beryl, classified as “extremely dangerous”: News