Van der Straeten to file defamation complaint against Bouchez

Federal Energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten plans to file a complaint against MR leader Georges-Louis Bouchez for defamation, she said in an interview published in De Standaard on Friday.

Earlier this week, Bouchez said he believed there should be a committee of inquiry into how Van der Straeten and Chris Peeters, the then-CEO of high-voltage grid operator Elia, handled the extension of the nuclear power stations. According to Bouchez, people lied in the months before to be able to stick to the nuclear phase-out.

"This is slander. Bouchez has said twice that I am lying, that I am instrumentalising Elia's analyses and that a commission of inquiry should be set up," said Van der Straeten. We are talking about a commission with the powers of an investigating judge who has the possibility to conduct house searches. And now there should be one, simply because the chairman of the MR differs in opinion about the policy to be pursued?"

She accused Bouchez of engaging in "bully politics". "If Bouchez wants to legalise the political debate, then I will file a complaint for unfounded statements that are also legally actionable … A government is a team, but Bouchez does nothing more than carry out frontal attacks on the person, with statements that are based on nothing. This is a new low in politics."

Van der Straeten is not willing to join a new government with Bouchez, she said. "I would like to continue my work, but with this MR, with this method? Under no circumstances."

Energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten ​ ©BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND

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