Originally Posted by Marengo
Apparently the newspaper 'Het Laatste Nieuws' has a campaign against the prince. I believe they are making a big deal of the prince missing a dinner at the Worl Economic Forum without cancelling it. Or something like that, I didn't un derstand the story completely. Does anybody know?
The HLN story: Two Flemish businesspeople hosted a Belgian reception in Davos and according to hln Philippe was a no-show at this reception which was attended by Belgian top-managers and top-politicians (mainly from Flanders). He was invited to join this reception but decided to attend a reception of Indian business leaders instead. The Belgian delegation waited to no avail and finally the Flemish Prime Minister and two top managers, Herman Daems and Luc Cortebeeck, went to the Indian reception to meet with Philippe and Mathilde. The article is spiced up with some unfavourable quotes coming from Belgian top managers – and of course they remain anonymous. Quote Mr. X: “It was surreal. How stupid to travel to Davos and consider Indian interests more important than Belgian ones. The Flemish Prime Minister left the state reform talks earlier and then he is ignored by Philippe. It was embarrassing.” The inevitable list of all blunders by Philippe is attached as well (and they even forgot last year´s new year reception incident). And of course Willem Alexander is mentioned as positive example: it seems he sometimes hosts a reception at the WEF and pays for it (oh well, that´s what hosts are expected to do). HLN also mentions Herman Daems and Luc Cortebeeck (see above) could not comment on this incident since they have been abroad.
The subtext for the Flemish readers of HLN is: This was yet another anti-Flemish action by Philippe.
So far, so bad. But it seems HLN was completely wrong:
The Flemish newspaper De Standaard (and Het Nieuwsblad) jumped to Philippe´s defence immediately. According to their reporter Karin De Ruyter who was present in Davos (in opposite to the HLN folks) the story was completely different. Herman Daems, the host of the reception, didn´t manage to find a proper location in time (and you better start early in Davos if you want to succeed). Nevertheless he sent invitations for a reception on Jan 24th in presence of Philippe and Mathilde. Seems Daems and his staff never found a location and the reception was cancelled one day beforehand due to “agenda problems”. Philippe met with Kofi Annan instead. One day later the traditional Belgian dinner took place in Davos. Attended by some Belgian top-managers but not by Philippe and Mathilde, who went to a reception hosted by the Indian delegation (note: there´s an economic mission to India coming up next year). And while HLN claims everybody was waiting for them, the reality is, nobody was waiting and Philippe was not even on the guest list. HLN also mentions other “guests” of this reception who in fact did not attend the dinner – due to agenda problems.
Herman Daems and Luc Cortebeeck who are mentioned in the HLN article disagreed with HLN immediately. Herman Daems said he was surprised by the criticism mentioned in the HLN article. According to him Philippe cancelled his attendance one week beforehand since he had the chance to meet with Annan. Daems also says he has no clue, who the anonymous sources of HLN could be, since nobody talked about Philippe´s absence with him.
And there are several comments on the Standaard homepage. One of them by Luc Cortebeeck. According to him the HLN story is nonsense and he asks the anonymous source to stand to his/her opinion openly. Cortebeeck says every Belgian participant in Davos was able to talk with Philippe and Mathilde in an open atmosphere and there was no incident or blunder at all.
There are also two comments by Belgian managers who compliment Philippe on his work during economic missions. (One of them accompanied Philippe during the economic mission to South Africa. This economic mission was highly criticized by HLN and the negative articles based on anonymous sources too.)
Other contributors at the Standaard forum are claiming their “pro-Philippe” posts at the HLN forum have been refused, while all sort of negative and rude posts passed the HLN moderators review without any problem.
Many contributors at the Standaard forum think HLN should offer their excuses to Philippe – though they doubt this will ever happen. And it seems they are right. The HLN guys stick true to their lousy principles. Even if they were proven wrong within hours after publishing their article, they printed off a couple of “anti-Philippe” letters to the editor the next day. Note: ALL letters to the editors argued with wrong facts provided by HLN and of course ALL letters are anti-Philippe. All in all this is a lesson in how to manipulate the public opinion and unfortunately HLN is the best selling tabloid in Belgium.