Prince Laurent of Belgium is very likely to receive the opportunity to defend himself for his recent actions in the Belgian parliament. It is the first time that a member of the Royal Family will defend himself/herself before the politicians in the Belgian Federal Parliament.
Last year it became clear that Prince Laurent had attended a reception of the Chinese Army at the Chinese Embassy in Belgium without asking for permission. No one, not even his brother the King was aware that the Prince would be undertaking such a politically sensitive action. Because it was not the first time the Prince had committed such activities, the Belgian government has decided to give the Prince a punishment.
The government decided to reduce the annual stipend of the Prince by 15%. In the end, the Belgian parliament has to make the final decision on this. Prince Laurent was not amused by the choice. His advocate said the Prince’s human rights were violated as he was not able to defend himself. Laurent told the media that he was outraged that he was not being heard.
Now it seems like the Belgian parliament is going to give the Prince the opportunity to explain his actions and motives. The Prince shared this news by tweeting an article about this. The President of the Parliament, Sigfried Bracke is trying to find support for his proposition to give a voice to the Prince. This might be a difficult task for Bracke, as the president of the fraction Groen-Ecolo (opposition), Kristof Calvo already expressed his displeasure. Kristof Calvo tweeted: “Prince Laurent is making a circus out of it. A prince should behave himself. It’s a simple as that. The Belgian parliament has much more important things to do.”
Prince Laurent’s lawyer Arnauts said he has yet to be informed on the decision of Parliament but promised “not to make a show out of it.” When asked whether the Prince would come to the parliament in person he said: “The chance is very small as we don’t want to make a show of it. It will be a serene judicial debate.” HIs lawyer will, thus, represent the Prince in Parliament.
The final decision on whether Prince Laurent will have the chance to defend himself is expected in the coming weeks. To be continued…