Government names National Bank director and Council of Europe secretary general candidate

The Belgian government agreed on Wednesday to extend the mandate of Pierre Wunsch as head of the National Bank, a spokesperson for prime minister Alexander De Croo said. Ministers also agreed on the nomination of Didier Reynders for the post of secretary general of the Council of Europe.

Wunsch's mandate expired on 1 January. His reappointment should have been a formality, but the government failed to agree on a number of issues before the Christmas break, which blocked the renewal of his mandate.

Ministers reached an agreement on Wednesday, allowing Wunsch to lead the institution for another five years. The extension will be formalised by a royal decree from Finance minister Vincent Van Peteghem.

Elections in June

De Croo's government also agreed to re-nominate Reynders for the mandate of secretary-general at the Council of Europe. The former Belgian Foreign minister was previously a candidate for the post in 2019, but lost out to Croatia's Marija Pejcinovic Buric.

Reynders, a member of the francophone liberal party MR, is currently the European Commissioner for Justice. He had intended to seek a new mandate in the Commission, until former Belgian prime minister and colleague Charles Michel announced that he would head the MR's European list in the June elections, meaning Reynders would not be guaranteed a seat.

The Council of Europe is an international organisation and is not part of the EU. Its aim is to safeguard human rights, democracy and the rule of law on the continent. A secretary general is elected every five years, with the next election due in June this year.


National Bank governor Pierre Wunsch © BELGA PHOTO JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE

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