‘Pee Wee’ Herman Rompuy:
I used to be disgusted with Belgian-style politics
and now I’m president of the European Union!
Paul Belien is someone who knows both Belgium and the EU inside and out, having published the book A Throne in Belgium, and written a number of articles for the Wall Street Journal and Washington Times, the man is unparalleled in his knowledge of the two subjects. Paul Belien knows Europe. So it shouldn’t surprise that a man of his stature and learning should also happen to know the European Union’s first president, Herman Van Rompuy.
It’s worth taking the time read Paul Belien’s article which was first published over at his blog, The Brussels Journal, because it’ll give you a proper sizing up of the man. Sadly, but predictably, and despite of his humble beginnings as a politician, ‘Pee Wee’ Herman Van Rompuy embodies the same miserable qualities that one has come to expect from all the other stalwart EU apparatchiks. The willingness to throw principles, honesty and duty to democracy to the wayside, in the pursuit of a dishonest super state run by elitists. KGS
By Paul Belien
Herman Van Rompuy. Get used to the name. He is the first President of the European Union, which with the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon by all the 27 EU member states in early November was transformed into a genuine United States of Europe.
The President of Europe has not been elected; he was appointed in a secret meeting of the heads of government of the 27 EU member states. They chose one of their own. Herman Van Rompuy was the Prime Minister of Belgium. I knew him when he was just setting out, reluctantly, on his political career.
To understand Herman, one must know something about Belgium, a tiny country in Western Europe, and the prototype of the EU. Belgians do not exist as a nation. Belgium is an artificial state, constructed by the international powers in 1830 as a political compromise and experiment. The country consists of 6 million Dutch, living in Flanders, the northern half of the country, and 4 million French, living in Wallonia, the southern half. The Belgian Dutch, called Flemings, would have preferred to stay part of the Netherlands, as they were until 1830, while the Belgian French, called Walloons, would have preferred to join France. Instead, they were forced to live together in one state.
Belgians do not like their state. They despise it. They say it represents nothing. There are no Belgian patriots, because no-one is willing to die for a flag which does not represent anything. Because Belgium represents nothing, multicultural ideologues love Belgium. They say that without patriotism, there would be no wars and the world would be a better place. As John Lennon sang “Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do, nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too.”
In 1957, Belgian politicians stood at the cradle of the European Union. Their aim was to turn the whole of Europe into a Greater Belgium, so that wars between the nations of Europe would no longer be possible as there would no longer be nations, the latter all having been incorporated into an artificial superstate.
A closer look at Belgium, the laboratory of Europe, shows, however, that the country lacks more than patriotism. It also lacks democracy, respect for the rule of law, and political morality. In 1985, in his book De Afwezige Meerderheid (The Absent Majority) the late Flemish philosopher Lode Claes (1913-1997) argued that without identity and a sense of genuine nationhood, there can also be no democracy and no morality.
One of the people who were deeply influenced by Dr. Claes’s thesis was a young politician named Herman Van Rompuy. In the mid-1980s, Van Rompuy, a conservative Catholic, born in 1947, was active in the youth section of the Flemish Christian-Democrat Party. He wrote books and articles about the importance of traditional values, the role of religion, the protection of the unborn life, the Christian roots of Europe and the need to preserve them. The undemocratic and immoral nature of Belgian politics repulsed him and led to a sort of crisis of conscience. Lode Claes, who was near to retiring, offered Herman the opportunity of succeeding him as the director of Trends, a Belgian financial-economic weekly magazine. It is in this context that I made Herman’s acquaintance. He invited me for lunch one day to ask whether, if he accepted the offer to enter journalism, I would be willing to join him. It was then that he told me that he was considering leaving politics and was weighing the options for the professional life he would pursue.
I am not sure what happened next, however. Maybe word had reached the leadership of the Christian Democrat Party that Herman, a brilliant economist and intellectual, was considering leaving politics; perhaps they made him an offer he could not refuse. Herman remained in politics. He was made a Senator and entered government as a junior minister. In 1988, he became the party leader of the governing Christian-Democrats.
Our paths crossed at intervals until 1990, when the Belgian Parliament voted a very liberal abortion bill. The Belgian King Baudouin (1930-1993), a devout Catholic who suffered from the fact that he and his wife could not have any children, had told friends that he would “rather abdicate than sign the bill.” The Belgian politicians, convinced that the King was bluffing, did not want the Belgian people to know about the King’s objections to the bill. I wrote about this on the op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal and was subsequently reprimanded by the Belgian newspaper I worked for, following an angry telephone call from the then Belgian Prime Minister, a Christian-Democrat, to my editor, who was this Prime Minister’s former spokesman. I was no longer allowed to write about Belgian affairs for foreign newspapers.
In April 1990, the King did in fact abdicate over the abortion issue, and the Christian-Democrat Party, led by Herman Van Rompuy, who had always prided himself on being a good Catholic, had one of Europe’s most liberal abortion bills signed by the college of ministers, a procedure provided by the Belgian Constitution for situations when there is no King. Then they had the King voted back on the throne the following day. I wrote about the whole affair in a critical follow-up article for The Wall Street Journal and was subsequently fired by my newspaper “for grievous misconduct”. A few weeks later, I met Herman at the wedding of a mutual friend. I approached him for a chat. I could see he felt very uncomfortable. He avoided eye contact and broke off the conversation as soon as he could. We have not spoken since.