Prince Laurent of Belgium, the younger brother of King Philippe of the Belgians, has announced that he will contest the reduction of his endowment. The reduction of 15%, or around 46,000 euros, was imposed on him after he participated in a reception at the Chinese Embassy in full uniform without informing the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders.
In a statement his lawyer, Laurent Arnauts, announced, “After having carefully examined the legal and institutional complexities of the situation, HRH Prince Laurent of Belgium has decided to appeal to the Council of State, seeking to annul the sanction to which he is subject. The proposal he has recently reiterated to the government, to clarify his situation and that of his family by means of a protocol supplementing the law ‘endowments’, has indeed remained unanswered. The Prince can not acquiesce to the violations of his fundamental rights which have again been inflicted on him. The appeal, which will be filed shortly, is based in particular on the violation of his rights of defence and abuse of power.”
Late last year, Prince Laurent claimed that the government’s attempt to limit his meetings with the representatives of foreign states amounted to a breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights as it would force him into “social isolation”.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, he also suggested that government’s announcement of action against him before he has had a chance to defend himself is illegal. “It goes without saying that the court of human rights would make short work of such violations of the right to a fair trial,” the lawyer writes. Prince Laurent’s lawyer insists that the Prince has been stopped from getting a job all his life “in humiliating ways” and in a manner that has been damaging to his “image and, dare I add, his health”.
“In this traditional view, a prince was not allowed to work (it would testify to ‘a desire for money’, a reproach that some people dare to repeat today, which is the world upside down!),” the lawyer writes. The question of the Prince’s endowment has caused “great uncertainty for the prince and his family, contrary to fundamental rights”, and the state should now offer some “social security or pension rights”.