Brussels summit controversy: Government survives diplomatic blunder

PS, Ecolo and Groen will not vote out Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib (MR) next Thursday as they do not want to risk bringing down the government as a result of the Brussels Urban Summit controversy. However, they point out that trust in Lahbib has not been restored following the granting of visas to an Iranian delegation to Belgium.

Earlier this week, Lahbib apologised for her role in granting visas to a delegation of 14 Iranians ahead of the Brussels Urban Summit. She initially blamed Pascal Smet, who has since resigned as Brussels secretary of state. But after widespread criticism and political pressure, she admitted she had made a mistake.

Despite her apology, the socialists and greens were still critical of Lahbib on Monday, leaving her fate and that of the government hanging by a thread. Now both have confirmed that they will support her in a vote next Thursday.

"We do not want to jeopardise the country's stability," said Wouter De Vriendt of Groen. "For us, however, Lahibib must promise to reform the visa procedure, reaffirm the fight for human rights in Iran, and put the Iranian ambassador on the spot."

"The crisis we are in now was caused by Mrs Lahbib's inability to give correct information"

PS also remains critical. "The crisis we are in now was caused by Mrs Lahbib's inability to give correct information to Parliament, which had to endure her mistakes, untruths and many attempts to evade responsibility," said MP Malik Ben Achour. "Our party finds it unacceptable that the MR has repeatedly tried to blame the Brussels government and shift the responsibility to others in the federal government."

Nevertheless, the majority parties will support the motion to reject the opposition's censure motions against Lahbib.



Related news

Website preview
Brussels summit controversy: PM gave green light to Iranian visas
The office of Belgian Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib consulted with the office of prime minister Alexander De Croo on granting visas to the Iranian delegation to last week's Brussels Urban Summit. The delegation's presence drew widespread criticism and prompted the resignation of Brussels secretary of state Pascal Smet.
Website preview
Government crisis deepens after 'verbal and physical' incident between ministers
The Belgian government's crisis continues to deepen. Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib, unders scrutiny for her role in granting visas to Iranian officials, is still in the eye of the storm. Meanwhile, Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke reportedly lashed out "verbally and physically" against Justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne after a disagreement escalated.
Website preview
Belgian Foreign minister under pressure over Brussels summit controversy
Belgian Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib continues to face pressure over the presence of Iranian and Russian delegations at last week's Brussels Urban Summit. The hosting of Tehran's mayor and others already prompted the resignation of Brussels secretary of state Pascal Smet on Sunday.

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels