Controversy around Laurents visit to Congo & meeting Libyan diplomats - Mar/Apr 2011
According to newspaper reports king Albert II and Prime Minister Yves Leterme are furious at prince Laurent for visiting the Congo. The prime minister even sent a letter to the prince, asking him to postpone his trip.
Koning en premier woedend over Congoreis prins Laurent - Wetstraat - De Morgen
The relations between Congo and Belgium have been difficult for decades. The prime minister emphasizes that the prince visited the former colony in his personal capacity.
The prince has had plans to visit the Congo for a while, due to his interest in sustainability. The king, the chef of his cabinet Jacques van Ypersele and Ghislain D'Hoop (of the department of foreign affairs), discussed the matter in the beginning of the year, and concluded that a visit would be too sensitive.
Last month the prince was also in the press negatively, due to him supposedly misbehaving on flights of Brussels Airlines.
Vice prime minister Steven Vanackere (christian democrats) reacted on the matter. He says that if the prince's visit has an effect on the debate of the dotation of the prince. At the moment Laurent receives 312000 euros a year. 'if he wants to be released from the official side of his life, we need to take another look to that' said Vanackere on a radio programme this morning.
Vanackere: "Debat over dotatie Laurent ligt opnieuw op tafel" - Wetstraat - De Morgen
According to newspaper 'de Morgen' the horel in which the prince was staying was paid for by Kabila! The private jet with which he flew to Angola was paid for by the dubious businessman George Forrest And in Angola he met the son of dictator dos Santos.
Kabila betaalde hotel Laurent - Buitenland - De Morgen
Prime minister Leterme has difficulties defending the prince. He had to admit that the price has enjoyed some privilidges due to his status, he met people related to the Kabila regime etc.
There are also more questions about the real reason for the visit. Sustainability was supposed to be the key issue, but judging from the shady business men that the prince met, Belgian politicians think that it is business related.
The whole thing overshadowed the state visit to Germany.
N-VA want to file a law proposal to stop his dotation:
Opnieuw wetsvoorstel N-VA om dotatie Laurent te schrappen - Prins Laurent - HLN
Leterme promisses to talk to the prince soon, Armand de Decker defens the prince:
Leterme wil onderhoud met prins Laurent over Congoreis - Prins Laurent - HLN
In his meeting with the prince, the prime minister will make clear that Laurent has to chose between his duties or dotation:
"Laurent moet kiezen tussen verplichtingen en dotatie" - België - HLN
Pierre Legros is actually alking in favour of the trip of the prince, saying that he did excellent work:
Advocaat Legros: "Prins Laurent heeft uitstekend werk verricht" - Prins Laurent - HLN
The issue has also been picked up by the Congolese press:
Prins Laurent ook item in Congolese pers - Prins Laurent - HLN
The Belgian press keeps slaughtering the prince.
Now 'De standaard' is publishing an article about the GRECT Global Renewable Energy & Conservation Trust . A foundation that was started by the prince in 2006, with a capital of 1000 euros. Etienne Davignon, one of the biggest industrials of Belgium, is a member of the board. The article goes on and on, about the trust not having an office, website, etc. According to Graydon (a company that moderates other companies), the GRACT is not fulfilling its obligations.
It is not the first time that people are having doubts about the financial dealings of the prince. A few years ago Col. Vaessen told the press about the prince's furniture being funded by the Navy. In the process it became obvious that the prince was involved with a fund (KINT?) that was not too transparent either.
Lawyer Pierre Legros, who escorted the prince to Congo, is becoming a burden to Laurent, says newspaper 'de Standaard'. The reason is that they found out that Legros was for 2 years the lawyer of ex rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba.
'De STandaard' also writes an article about job oppertunities for Laurent and Claire on the labor market. Conclusion: Claire's prospects on a job are the best.
In French: http://www.dhnet.be/infos/monde/arti...gne-rouge.html
It seems to be raining articles on the prince!
According to Pierre Legros the Congolese politicians are to blame. 'They just want to tease us', and the 'know that Laurent is not an average member of the royal family'. He adds that the prince is treated like a small child. And he also says that some claims about the visit are false. 'The prince is not a Shakespeare character'.
De Standaard Online - 'Laurent is geen personage uit Shakespeare'
An article about Laurent being the black sheep of the family. And also trying to get some sympathy for the position of the prince. His life hasn't been too easy:
De Standaard Online - Van de prins geen kwaad
Prime Minister: 'we need to release the prince from his pains'
De Standaard Online - 'We moeten de prins uit zijn lijden verlossen'
An article where Prof. Wijngeart compares him to the previous enfant terrible of the RF, Prince Karel (younger brother of king Leopold III)
De Standaard Online - Prins Karel achterna?
In Angola the prince visited oil refineries: De Standaard Online - Prins bezocht olieraffinaderijen in Angola
IMHO it seems that some are blowing this out of proportions to discuss an issue that has been bothering some for years: the dotations of Astrid and Laurent.
De Standaard also lists all the previous issues about Laurent:
De Standaard Online - De flaters van prins Laurent
- (speeding) tickets
- Selling the pictures of his children
- Causing trouble in an airplane
- he critisized the press
- he wanted a muslim godfather for princess Louise
- fraud with money belonging to the Navy
- an expensive villa on Sicily
- the KINT foundation
- women (like Wendy van Wanten).
And the prince tells newspaper 'De Standaard' : 'I have been under presure for years'. (..) 'people are playing games with me'.
'Let us hope that he never comes back':
I live near Sicily. Do you know where is his villa?
On Panarea, the house is called 'Villa Sofia' and it looks very neglected. There were rumours at the time that the prince of Orange would buy the house from Laurent, but he bought the ill-fated property in Mozambique instead.
According to Pierre Legros, it is the chef of the cabinet, Jacques van Ypersele de Strihou who is behind this matter getting blown out of proportion. Legros says that van Ypersele and Laurent have a bad relationship for years, mainly due to Laurents distaste for the catholic church. Legros adds that this is the 2nd time that van Ypersele does something like this to Laurent.
Advocaat Laurent: "Kabinetschef Albert II zit achter deze polemiek" - Prins Laurent - HLN
During a visit to Gent Laurent gave a hug to the mayor. She called him 'brave' for coming while there is so much criticism going on. After which he walked to the mayor and hugged hr. After that he took the microphone and joked that she shouldn't overdo it (the compliments).
In the Le Soir the prince is asking for support: 'I can not say anything, people think that everything I do is a problem'.
Prins Laurent wil dat (Franstalige) pers hem steunt - Prins Laurent - HLN
Prince Laurent said it was a private Trip. Yesterday on TV a debate between French and Flemish Politics
It was his Father King Albert II's will not to go to Congo (not Mr Van Yserseele de Strihou , the chef of the Cabinet.
When the Président of the Country here Mr Kabila receives you in this Palace it is not a Private Trip.
What will happen when his brother will be the next King.
It's King V Prince in Belgium's battle royale
It's King Vs Prince in Belgium's Battle Royale - ABC News
It was on the front page of Yahoo last night
It's King vs Prince in Belgium's battle royale - Yahoo! News
It is the first time that the Royal Palace confirmed that His Majesty King Albert II is angry
And the drama continues.....
Now the newspapers claim that the prince has met opponents of colonel Khadaffi . Neither the palace nor the government were informed:
Lalibre.be - Comment Laurent a tenté de soutenir les rebelles libyens
flandersnews.be: Prince Laurent: "I'm not thinking of giving up my grant"
Indeed the reaction of the palace is very telling. They seem to distance themselves much more from Laurent than f.e. Buckingham Palace did with prince Andrew.
He organised a meeting between two Libyan diplomats opposing Khadafi.
The two want to oust the present Libyan ambassador to Belgium as he is
still a Khadafi supporter......:ermm:
Mixing in politics is an absolute no-no for any member of any Royal Family.
His dotation,as they call an apanage in Belgium,will be curtailed and strict
rules will apply for Laurents behaviour in future.The dotation is a total
waste of money,let him earn his own.We here don't do free-loaders,our Princes
of the blood all work,and they finished university on their own and are
succesfull at what they do.But then ours are truly exemplary in that respect too.
Belgian diplomats say Laurent has no clue what he's doing.
While the Prince whined he is treated like a 12 year old,he is lucky
they even think he is that old already,he behaves like an complete
infantile,and nothing less nor more then that.An affront to the RF.
I really pitty dear Princess Clair for having to put up with this petit enfant terrible.
I don't think there's much chance of him changing !
I've been following this thread for ages, and nothing ever changes as far as Laurent is concerned.
Sigh...Laurent, Laurent, Laurent.
I would love to be a fly on the wall when he converses privately with the sedate, never-puts-a-foot-wrong Princess Claire.:lol:
How on EARTH did those two manage to decide to try to make a marriage with such different personalities??!:eek:
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