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Herman Van Rompuy, surprise guest at the informal defense of Ghent

City of Ghent (credit: Belgian Presidency of the EU)

(BRUSSELS2) In the absence of the presence of Cathy Ashton, Pieter de Crem, the Belgian Minister of Defense, will be able to count on a distinguished guest for the informal meeting of Defense Ministers, which begins today in Ghent: Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council.

Rather exceptional presence: it is rare for a President of the European Council to attend an informal meeting of the Minister of Defense. It is true that the two men share the same political partnership, that of the CD&V, the Flemish Christian party. Herman will attend the concert in St Bavo's Cathedral in Ghent, with Prince Philippe.

The working dinner between ministers will start at 20:15 p.m. with Cathy Ashton, live from New York, via video conference. And if that “doesn’t work?”, the Belgian presidency has planned a plan B. Will it be Van Rompuy who will act as Cathy Ashton’s understudy? This would have the merit of effectiveness and also of showing that the new “external couple” resulting from the Lisbon Treaty could function differently than had been planned.

You can follow the official broadcasts of the meeting live (not the work meetings, we must not exaggerate...), on the website of the Belgian presidency.

To consult the timetable of the event, click here.

(I'll be there in a few minutes... I'm running)

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).