Philippe's Economic Mission to Seattle & Vancouver; 08-14 March, 2008
Prince Philippe left for an economic mission to Seattle and Vancouver (March 8-14) last Saturday. And I guess he keeps his fingers crossed permanently to avoid an early arrival of baby nr. 4.
Day 1 (March 9th) welcome meeting and briefing
Note: the guy next to Philippe (first pic) is minister of state François-Xavier de Donnea, who also conducted Philippe´s and Mathilde´s civil wedding in his capacity as (then) mayor of Brussels.
Day 2 (March 10th) visit to the Microsoft headquarter and checking out some new boy`s toys :rolleyes:
If you keep the fingers crossed for the baby, I will do the same, hoping that this will be a mission that goes smoothly and which will not be mis-used by some Flemish newspapers to undermine Phillipe's reputation!
BTW this mission is also meant to improve Belgium´s damaged image abroad and Philippe should be accompanied by foreign minister Karel de Gucht. But the latter had to skip this journey since he is a “bit ill” right now. Guess he doesn´t want to leave the government negotiations right now, and he sure was healthy enough to kick off the image campaign “Only in Belgium” which can be admired at BBC World, CNN etc. the next weeks.
Invest in Belgium
Well, apart from repairiung their image abroad I think they should repair the image within the country too, which sadly is not happening (still no new government).
I do think Phillipe is capable and that the negative sides of his speeches and such are overly emphasized because some papers support seperatist influences. But still, it would be nice if this visit would not end in some sort of controvercy.
Soo, Philippe scored one, quite amused critical remark by one of his toughest critics, Hilde Sabbe from the Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, today: He messed up the touch down of a virtual military jet during this Microsoft flight simulator session. I`m sure Philippe can take this, since he was all smiles after landing next to the runway. Other than that everything seems to be quite successful and Philippe had an extended talk with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today and, not sure if all Belgians are delighted, he also met with Starbucks CEO Schultz, who promised to open some first Starbucks coffee bars in Belgium next year.
All in all the results of this economic trip are quite promising so far. While the endless coalition talks at home stagnated a bit again. Oh yes, the image. :rolleyes:
Meeting Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
With Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz
Visiting the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and meeting the Executive Director of the Foundation Global Health, Tachi Yamada
Yep, that´s not the runway
But nevermind, he scored the flight simulator game as gift and now he can train his skills till Mathilde unplugs the computer
Isn't Het Laatste Nieuws usually the newspaper that is most negative about the RF? And judging from their website they look rather sensational too. Was she seriously making a pint of him landing next to the runway in a simulator? Or did she 'just' make a nasty joke?
What are actually the results of such a trip? I mean, any concrete deals made or is the point of it mainly creating goodwill and somewhat show silicon valley that Belgium isn't in a political crisis so they can invest their dollars there?
There is an interview with the prince in the daily free newpaper Metro. The prince said that Microsoft is intrested in Belgium, 'cause we have concrete ICT project in healthcare for example.
The major role of the prince is to network. That's aslo why he goes to Davos to the World Economic Forum.
Metro asks of the Belgian businessmen would have met Steve Ballmer (microsoft-boss) without the prince's presence. He answers that he's afraid that they wouldn't have got to the big boss without him.
And furthermore: The commitment of the prince has made some contracts possible. Three giant companies are named.
martha-louise described Philippe´s role already. The CEO´s of Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks etc. all took the time to meet with Philippe and the ministers who accompany him. I doubt they would have done this for the Flemish or Walloon economy minister alone. Philippe opens the doors for his enterprising fellow citizens - a princely head of delegation still rings a bell it seems, otherwise there wouldn´t be so many princely trips (3-4 per year).
BTW here´s a short Seattle Post article describing the Microsoft meeting a bit.
And a link to another Seattle Times article:
Business & Technology | Bit of Belgian goodwill spread in Seattle | Seattle Times Newspaper
Here an article from the GLOBE foundation about Prince Filips economic mission in Vancouver.
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