The Belgian Foreign Minister temporarily leaves office due to the serious illness of her husband


The Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sophie Wilmès, announced this Thursday that she is temporarily leaving her responsibilities in the Government of Alexander De Croo due to the serious illness suffered by her husband.

“Today, the disease has suddenly entered our lives, particularly that of my husband, Christopher,” reported the liberal leader herself in a letter published on social networks, in which she detailed that her husband suffers from “brain cancer aggressive”.

Wilmès has decided to step aside immediately, alleging that his personal situation is not compatible with the “rigor, availability and total commitment” required by the political positions he holds. As he has said, his current responsibilities do not allow him to “provide the help and comfort” that his family will need at this time.

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That is why, in coordination with De Croo, he has agreed to temporarily leave the Executive and that the Prime Minister himself temporarily assume the Foreign Affairs portfolio and his colleagues in the ranks, David Clarinval and Mathieu Michel, are in charge of International Trade and Cultural Institutions Federal, respectively.

With this reconfiguration, Wilmès has given himself until the summer to consider his situation, when he will possibly make a decision about his political future.


In two messages on social networks, the Belgian Prime Minister and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, have expressed their solidarity with the liberal leader.

De Croo has described the news as “terrible” and expressed his support for Wilmès, her husband and children, while Michel, Wilmès’s predecessor as Belgian Prime Minister, has sent a message of “support and strength” to the family of his partner of rows.

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The French-speaking liberal has held the head of the Belgian government on an interim basis since the end of 2019 when Michel was elected president of the European Council. During the year at the head of the Executive he had to deal with the coronavirus crisis and his management of the pandemic was praised, receiving special powers from the Belgian Parliament to address the crisis. She held the position during the long talks to form a new government, which culminated in October 2020.

With the new cabinet led by De Croo, he became in charge of the Foreign Affairs portfolio and one of the seven vice-presidencies of a government coalition that includes seven parties and whose distribution of ministries responds to a balance between political forces and Belgian regions.

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