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Geert Bourgeois News

Geert Bourgeois

Geert Albert Bourgeois is a prominent Belgian politician affiliated with the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA). A commitment to Flemish nationalism and conservative values has marked his political journey.Read more
Bourgeois's early political engagement dates back to his secondary school years, when he joined various nationalist organisations. He pursued legal studies at Ghent University and entered municipal politics in 1977. Bourgeois has held significant positions over the years, including serving as a Member of the Chamber of Representatives and later as Minister-President of Flanders from July 25, 2014, to July 2, 2019. His role in the N-VA, which he founded in 2001, highlights the party's goals of Flemish autonomy and gradual secession from Belgium.

Geert Bourgeois has actively contributed to Flemish nationalism by advocating for regional cooperation, strengthening Flanders' position in international relations, and fostering ties with like-minded movements. Recent news highlights his stance on nuclear energy, rejection of proposed institutional reforms, and concerns about subsidy limits in the EU. Bourgeois's political ideas centre around protecting Flemish identity, cultural heritage, and conservative values, aligning with his roles in Intangible Cultural Heritage and Foreign Policy. His response to current global challenges stresses open collaboration, multilateralism, and a strategic focus on addressing economic, geopolitical, and public health issues. Geert Bourgeois continues to play a crucial role in shaping Flanders' political landscape and contributing to broader discussions on the international stage.

1951

Geert Bourgeois is born in Izegem, Belgium.

1974

Geert Bourgeois Graduates with a degree in History and Germanic Philology from Ghent University.

1977

Geert Bourgeois Begins his career as a teacher before transitioning into journalism.

1980

Geert Bourgeois Joins the Volksunie party, a Flemish nationalist political party.

1987

Geert Bourgeois Elected as a member of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, representing West Flanders.

1995

Geert Bourgeois Becomes Minister of Education and Employment in the Flemish Government.

1999

Geert Bourgeois Serves as Flemish Minister of Administrative Affairs, Foreign Policy, Media, and Tourism.

2004

Geert Bourgeois Appointed as Minister of Administrative Affairs, Foreign Policy, Media, and Tourism.

2007

Geert Bourgeois Becomes Minister of Administrative Affairs, Foreign Policy, Media, and Tourism.

2014

Geert Bourgeois Elected as Minister-President of Flanders, leading the regional government.

2019

Geert Bourgeois Continues to serve as Minister-President, focusing on regional development, economic growth, and cultural preservation in Flanders.

2021

Geert Bourgeois Plays a key role in shaping Flemish policies on climate change, education, and immigration.

2024

Geert Bourgeois Remains committed to his role as Minister-President, working towards the prosperity and well-being of the people of Flanders.

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Press Releases

A November 13, 2006 press release announced that Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović met with Geert Bourgeois, the Flemish Minister for Administrative Affairs, Foreign Policy, Media, and Tourism. Read more
An Agreement on Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the Government of the Flanders Region was signed during the meeting. Minister Grabar-Kitarović emphasised the historically friendly relations between Croatia and Flanders, which had intensified since Croatia gained full EU membership candidate status. The Agreement aimed to enhance bilateral relations by facilitating cooperation in various areas, including the economy, small and medium-sized enterprises, culture, science, and education. Minister Bourgeois expressed Flanders' support for Croatia's EU membership and highlighted the importance of such agreements in stimulating cooperation between Flanders and Croatia. The press release mentioned the successful Plato Croatia project, transferring experiences from the Flemish Chamber of Commerce to Croatian partners. The signing of the Agreement led to the establishment of a joint Croatian-Flemish commission to work on projects over the next two years.

Flemish Minister-President Geert Bourgeois marked a significant event by laying the foundation stone for the upcoming DEME office building in Zwijndrecht in a press release dated January 15, 2015. The new facility spans 5,600 m2 and is designed to extend the current office complex on the grounds of DEME's existing head office on Scheldedijk. The building provides approximately 250 new workspaces across its five floors, featuring two lower levels housing technical rooms, meeting spaces, a fitness centre, and expanded kitchen facilities. The ambitious project, adhering to stringent EPB (Energy Performance of Buildings) standards, incorporates insulation, external blinds, smart lighting, and ventilation for optimal energy efficiency. Sustainable energy for heating and cooling is derived from cold/heat storage. The investment in these cutting-edge facilities amounts to 15 million euros, reflecting DEME's commitment to growth and enhanced support for expanding global projects. Minister-President Bourgeois inaugurated a state-of-the-art dredging simulator, underlining DEME's technological advancements.

Geert Bourgeois, Minister-President of the Government of Flanders, Belgium, CEO Claire Tillekaerts, and accompanying delegates visited NYK's head office on October 19, 2016. The delegation met with key figures from NYK, including board counsellor Koji Miyahara, senior advisor Takao Kusakari, and senior managing corporate officer Koichi Chikaraishi. The meeting celebrated the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Belgium and Japan, as well as 120 years since the commencement of NYK's first European liner service between Yokohama and Antwerp. Kusakari expressed gratitude for the visit during the discussions and highlighted NYK's commitment to collaboration with the government of Flanders through Belgian ports. Minister-President Bourgeois expressed profound thanks for the employment opportunities provided by NYK and its significant contribution to the Belgian economy. The press release mentioned NYK's introduction of Auto Eco, the world's first LNG-fueled pure car and truck carrier. The company reiterated its commitment to delivering services that meet diverse customer needs, acting as a crucial link between Belgium, Japan, and the broader global market.

Speeches

Minister-President of Flanders, Geert Bourgeois, delivered a keynote speech highlighting the theme of Sustainable Corridors at the 20th-anniversary celebration of the North Sea Conference on June 30, 2017, held in Göttingen, Germany. The event, attended by over 320 delegates from across the North Sea Region, showcased a vibrant spirit of cooperation that has become synonymous with the annual conference.Read more
Geert Bourgeois, in his speech, drew inspiration from James Williams' quote, stating, "We are like islands in the sea: Separate on the surface but connected in the deep." Bourgeois underscored the importance of building a familiar story and defining shared values in the North Sea Region. His address, delivered at the prime ministerial level, marked a significant moment in the conference's history. The speech resonated with the overarching theme of transnational cooperation, echoing the sentiments of other guest speakers who highlighted the necessity of collaborative efforts to harness the region's vast potential. The event facilitated networking opportunities and provided a platform for interactive elements, workshops, and discussions, emphasising the prevailing spirit of stakeholder cooperation. The post-Brexit concerns were addressed, expressing hope for the continued robust engagement of the UK in North Sea cooperation. Geert Bourgeois' speech at the milestone conference encapsulated the commitment to sustainable development and collaborative initiatives in the North Sea Region.

Geert Bourgeois, Flemish Minister-President, delivered a New Year's reception speech at the Herman Teirlinck Building in Brussels on January 22, 2018. Bourgeois wished for a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2018 addressing the diplomatic corps. He highlighted positive economic indicators for Flanders and the need for sustained efforts and targeted investments in research, education, mobility, healthcare, and school buildings. A trade-friendly deal featuring zero tariffs, customs cooperation, and regulatory alignment is Bourgeois's goal regarding Brexit. He discussed Flanders' diplomatic expansion and support for a "rule of law" peer review in the EU. Bourgeois expressed hope for international cooperation, concluding with a toast to ongoing fruitful collaboration. One quote from his speech states, “Diplomacy is the art of reconciling what seems irreconcilable. All of you here have a role in this, one which cannot be overestimated. Searching for mutual interests across borders, containing and, where possible, resolving conflicts, and engendering and maintaining sustainable international relationships; these are the core tasks of diplomats.”

Minister-president Geert Bourgeois delivered a speech highlighting the significance of Flanders and its foreign network in the global arena on January 31, 2019, at the New Year reception for the Diplomatic Corps. Bourgeois reflected on the quarter-century celebration of Flemish foreign policy in 2018, commencing with the announcement of the forthcoming opening of a new General Representation in Rome and a Flanders Investment and Trade post in Nigeria. He addressed the current geopolitical uncertainty marked by increasing protectionism, emphasising the need to broaden the foreign network. Bourgeois advocated for enhanced global economic integration grounded in rules fostering sustainable development, supporting core labour conventions, and ensuring a level playing field. He urged the European Union to lead the way amid concerns over global economic growth. Bourgeois underscored the enduring impact of Brexit on Flanders, highlighting the importance of a trade-friendly Brexit and maintaining a positive outlook on the future, expressing regret over the rejection of the Brexit deal in the British Parliament. The speech encapsulated Bourgeois' vision for Flanders' role in navigating international challenges and fostering positive global cooperation. One quote from his speech says, “In times of rising protectionism and hick-ups in global stock markets, resulting in mounting concerns over the future of global economic growth, the EU has to lead the way.”

Delegation leader Geert Bourgeois debated the EU's attitude toward China in response to French President Macron's remarks on Taiwan in a recent plenary session in Strasbourg on April 18, 2023. Bourgeois stressed the necessity for a nuanced approach, identifying China as a global player and advocating an economic security strategy to match the EU's view of China as a partner, competitor, and opponent. He stressed that fixing the trade gap and decreasing China's supply of rare earth minerals for the EU's renewable energy transition was more important than fully disconnecting from China. Bourgeois advocated strategic autonomy, investing in essential sectors, negotiating trade agreements, and diversifying supply routes to protect crucial infrastructure and strategic assets against Chinese control. Bourgeois questioned Macron's recent words, highlighting the EU's need for unity in China policy to avoid a transatlantic split. The speech suggested a balanced and pragmatic approach to China and urged EU unity. Bourgeois stated that “Napoleon's 200-year-old warning, "China is a sleeping giant; let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world," was repeated in Strasbourg.

Who is Geert Bourgeois?

Geert Albert Bourgeois, a prominent Belgian politician affiliated with the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), established in 2001, has been a member of the European Parliament since 2019. Geert Bourgeois’ political journey includes serving as Minister-President of Flanders from 2014 to 2019. Bourgeois was a representative of the federal Chamber of Representatives for the People’s Union from 1995 to 2001, followed by the N-VA from 2001 to 2004, actively contributing to local and regional politics in Flanders since 1976.

Emiel Bourgeois, Bourgeois’s father, was born in Hulste during World War I and faced post-war challenges, accusations of collaboration, and eventual imprisonment as a result of his behaviour. Geert Bourgeois’s father was later vindicated and assumed the position of headmaster at his former school before passing in 1998 despite these trials. Geert Bourgeois pursued legal studies at Ghent University from 1970 to 1975 after attending Saint Joseph’s College in Izegem for secondary education. Bourgeois married Betty Hoste, forming a law practice and a family with two sons.

Bourgeois’s early political engagement manifested during his secondary school years when he began to be associated with the Catholic Student Action and later ventured into the Flemish Nationalist Student Union and the Language Action Committee. His leadership roles within the local Volksunie branch and the Volksunie Youth Wing of Izegem began at 17, showcasing his commitment to Flemish nationalist ideals.

Geert Bourgeois biography is illustrated in the table below.

Personal Information of Geert Bourgeois
Full Name Geert Albert Bourgeois
Birthday July 6, 1951
Spouse Betty Hoste
Number of Children 2
Position Belgian Politician (N-VA)
Political Party New Flemish Alliance (N-VA)
Education Ghent University Saint Joseph’s College
Position Term Preceded by Succeeded by
Member of the European Parliament for Belgium July 2, 2019 - Present
Minister-President of Flanders July 25, 2014 - July 2, 2019 Kris Peeters Liesbeth Homans
Member of the Chamber of Representatives May 18, 2003 - June 13, 2004

What is the Political Party of Geert Bourgeois?

The political party of Geert Bourgeois is the New Flemish Alliance. Geert Bourgeois founded the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) in 2001. He has been pivotal in the party since then and is affiliated with the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA). The political organisation, founded in 2001 by the right-leaning faction of the centrist-nationalist People’s Union, represents a Flemish nationalist and conservative ideology. The N-VA champions the gradual and peaceful secession of Flanders from Belgium within the framework of civic nationalism, which functions as a regionalist and separatist movement. The N-VA aspires to enhance Flemish autonomy and reshape Belgium into a confederal country by independently securing increased powers for the Belgian communities positioned as a centre-right party. The N-VA held a prominent role in the Belgian government through December 9, 2018, dominating the political landscape in Flanders and Belgium. 

How has Geert Bourgeois contributed to Flemish nationalism?

Geert Bourgeois, a prominent figure in Flemish nationalism, has significantly contributed to the movement throughout his political career. Bourgeois has played a crucial role in advocating for Flemish autonomy and promoting the interests of the Flemish community as a critical figure in Flanders’ New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) party. His leadership within the N-VA has been instrumental in reviving efforts to reinforce Flanders’ position within Belgium and Europe. 

Bourgeois has actively engaged in political initiatives to enhance regional cooperation, such as seeking agreements with other coastal states and regions to promote collaboration on energy, fisheries, and research and development. Bourgeois has been vocal about strengthening ties among Flanders’ neighbouring areas in the context of Brexit and its implications for the North Sea region. His efforts to promote a new North Sea union highlight his commitment to advancing Flanders’ economic and political interests on the international stage. 

Bourgeois’ engagement with other nationalist movements, like the pro-independence movement in Catalonia, reflects his broader vision of aligning Flanders’ aspirations with individuals of other regions seeking greater autonomy. Geert Bourgeois’ contributions to Flemish nationalism underscore his dedication to advancing Flanders’ socio-economic and political interests within a dynamic and evolving European landscape. Geert Bourgeois contributed to Flemish nationalism through his active involvement in the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) political party and his efforts in advocating for the interests of Flanders in Belgian politics.

What were Geert Bourgeois’s main goals as a politician?

Geert Bourgeois, as a seasoned politician with a prosperous political career, has had several core objectives and goals throughout his time in public service. Bourgeois’ goals as a politician revolved around advocating for Flemish nationalism, promoting regional autonomy, and championing the rights and interests of the Flemish community in Belgium. Bourgeois was a staunch supporter of greater independence for Flanders within the Belgian federal system, aiming to secure more regional decision-making powers in education, culture, and economic policy. He consistently worked towards strengthening the position of Flanders nationally and internationally, emphasising the unique identity and aspirations of the Flemish people.

Geert Bourgeois prioritised issues related to legal affairs, community relations, and the protection of individual liberties during his tenure. His focus on legal matters in the federal Chamber of Representatives showcased his commitment to upholding the rule of law, ensuring the fair treatment of all citizens, and fostering a legal framework that safeguards individual rights and freedoms. Bourgeois was instrumental in passing legislation like the Protection of Sources Act, which aimed to protect journalists and their sources, highlighting his dedication to upholding press freedom and democratic values.

Bourgeois aimed to improve the quality of governance and public administration at the local and national levels. His leadership roles in municipal councils and party positions underscored his dedication to effective governance, transparency, and accountability in public service. Bourgeois served as Minister-President of Flanders and later as a Member of the European Parliament, enhancing governmental efficiency, promoting sustainable development, and representing constituent interests.

Geert Bourgeois’s main goals as a politician encompassed advancing Flemish nationalism, advocating for regional autonomy, protecting individual rights, and promoting good governance practices. His commitment to these principles and achievements in various political roles highlight his enduring legacy as a proactive and dedicated advocate for the Flemish community and the values he holds dear.

What is the Official Title of Geert Bourgeois?

The official title of Geert Bourgeois is that of a member of the European Parliament for Belgium. Bourgeois is the former Minister-President of the first N-VA-led Flemish government. Geert oversees the government’s Foreign Policy and Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Geert has been a minister in the Flemish government since 2004. He was appointed Vice Minister and President in 2009. Bourgeois has formerly held positions in Local and Provincial Government, Administrative Affairs, Foreign Policy, Civic Orientation, Media and Tourism, Intangible Cultural Heritage, and Flemish Rand municipalities.

Geert is held in high regard by allies and adversaries for being an ardent statesman and a diligent worker with an exceptional understanding of his subjects. He has a reputation for being a man of his word, consistently forthright, and focused on achieving desired outcomes. Bourgeois held various positions in his apolitical career, making him a seasoned public servant.

Geert Bourgeois, a lawyer, started participating in municipal politics in 1977. He was elected to the Belgian House of Representatives in 1995 and is widely regarded as a legal expert. He formed the Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA) in 2001 and became its first Chairman. Geert entered the Government of Flanders in 2004 following the dissolution of his old party, the Volksunie.

Geert Bourgeois’ official titles are listed below.

  • Member of the Chamber of Representatives: Geert Bourgeois served in the Chamber of Representatives, representing West Flanders from 5 July 2010 to 7 July 2010 and earlier, from 8 June 1995 to 22 July 2004, with constituencies including Kortrijk-Roeselare-Tielt (1995–2003) and West Flanders (2003–2004).
  • Minister-President of Flanders: Geert Bourgeois held the position of Minister-President of Flanders from 25 July 2014 to 2 July 2019, succeeding Kris Peeters and being succeeded by Liesbeth Homans.
  • Member of the European Parliament for Belgium: Geert Bourgeois assumed office on 2 July 2019, representing the Dutch-speaking electoral college and serving as the incumbent Member of the European Parliament for Belgium.

What are the Important News about Geert Bourgeois?

The important news about Geert Bourgeois is listed below.

  • Minister-President Bourgeois engaged in significant discussions with Jean D’Amour, Quebec’s Minister of Maritime Affairs, addressing the prospects of ports, the “blue economy,” and fostering collaboration between Flanders and Quebec on March 15, 2018. The North Sea Port, formed from the cross-border merger of Vlissingen, Terneuzen, and Ghent and the Port of Zeebrugge, formalised agreements with the Port of Quebec on March 16. The signing ceremony, after establishing the CETA agreement, signifies the shared intent to enhance cargo traffic and fortify collaboration. The interactions underscore the alignment in trade and transport objectives and mutual interests in culture, internal affairs, academic exchanges, and education between Flanders and Quebec. Minister-President Bourgeois met with Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard during the Belgian State Visit from March 11-16, 2018, highlighting the diplomatic and collaborative efforts.
  • Geert Bourgeois, delegation leader in the European Parliament, vehemently rejected the recent Verhofstadt report proposing institutional reforms to the Lisbon Treaty on November 21, 2023. Bourgeois criticised the report for advocating a European superstate and gigantism, expressing concern about the potential alienation of citizens, describing it as a “centralist purple-green pamphlet.” The report undermines the foundational European principle of ‘unity in diversity’ and democratic representation, according to Bourgeois. He emphasised the N-VA’s commitment to bottom-up collaboration, asserting that treaty changes are unnecessary as the Lisbon Treaty already provides tools for addressing challenges. Bourgeois called for a focus on internal market completion, migration policy, protection of external borders, and a comprehensive competitiveness agenda while advocating for maintaining the three-way framework for balanced decision-making in the European Commission, Parliament, and Council.
  • Geert Bourgeois issues warnings, easing subsidy limits and sparking a new cash race across the EU. Geert Bourgeois, a prominent figure in European politics, has expressed concerns about the impact of relaxing limits on subsidies on November 21, 2023. He warned that such a move is going to lead to a new subsidy shakedown. Geert Bourgeois has been active in advocating for the establishment of frameworks to enhance the EU’s manufacturing capacity for technologies. His stance reflects a keen interest in simplifying the regulatory framework and improving the investment environment in the manufacturing sector.
  • N-VA delegation leader Geert Bourgeois expressed satisfaction with the proposal advocating for an efficient EU framework to promote Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) at the European Parliament on December 12, 2023. The N-VA welcomes the alignment of European perspectives on nuclear energy and emphasises the need for a committed approach. Geert Bourgeois deems it highly responsible for fully embracing the proposal, recognising its opportunities for Flanders. The proposal addresses the ambitious goal of the European Union to achieve emissions neutrality by 2050, highlighting the importance of nuclear energy in the sustainable energy mix. SMRs, with their compact size, lower initial costs, and faster construction time, offer cost-efficient solutions seamlessly integrated into energy-intensive industries, contributing to energy security and industrial development in Flanders. The N-VA actively advocates at the EU level to streamline licensing procedures for SMRs, emphasising their role in providing flexible, reliable, and environmentally friendly energy solutions for a sustainable future. The initiative underscores the potential for leveraging Flemish nuclear expertise, particularly at institutions like the SCK in Mol, which has been researching SMRs. It emphasises the importance of maintaining nuclear power stations and developing nuclear know-how.

What are the Political Ideas of Geert Bourgeois?

The political ideas of Geert Bourgeois reflect a solid commitment to Flemish nationalism and conservative values. Geert Bourgeois is known for advocating for the interests of Flanders and promoting greater autonomy for the region within Belgium as a prominent figure in the N-VA party. His emphasis on Flemish identity and culture aligns with his role in safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage while overseeing Foreign Policy. Bourgeois’ background as a legal specialist and his reputation for being conscientious, hardworking, and results-driven underscore his dedication to upholding his beliefs and advancing the interests of the Flemish community through his political endeavours.

How is Geert Bourgeois responding to current global challenges?

Geert Bourgeois is responding to current global challenges by emphasising the need for the EU to remain open yet protect its interests more assertively without resorting to protectionism. He supports the orientation towards multilateralism and aligning with partners across the Atlantic. Bourgeois recognises the geopolitical conflicts and significant economic and social consequences resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. He advocates for a shift towards focusing on the Southern and Eastern Neighbourhoods of the European Union to address the challenges faced by the EU in its trade policy. Bourgeois acknowledges the necessity for a new strategy for EU trade policy that supports economic recovery and embodies assertiveness in defending EU interests on the global stage.

Geert Bourgeois participates in the World Economic Forum in Davos to address current global challenges. His engagement with economic leaders, including discussions with representatives from prominent companies, reflects a proactive approach to understanding and tackling global issues. Bourgeois strategically promotes Flanders’ strengths in smart logistics, technology, life sciences, recycling, circular economy, and the fourth industrial revolution, positioning the region as a key contributor to addressing these challenges. He commits to global collaboration and rejects isolationist tendencies, highlighting Flanders’ open economy. The confident and transparent outlook expressed by Bourgeois indicates a preparedness to navigate future challenges with optimism and a collaborative mindset on the international stage.

Flanders’ competitiveness was strengthened by promoting internationalisation and collaboration under the leadership of Geert Bourgeois in response to current global challenges. He has outlined strategic lines at the Flanders International Economic Summit to accelerate international marketing in critical industries, intensify international business growth, offer better support to businesses, and address trade barriers. Bourgeois underlines the importance of collaboration with businesses, knowledge institutions, and civil society to create added economic, ecological, and social value. Bourgeois aims to navigate global challenges effectively and ensure sustainable growth for Flanders in the face of increasing demands for internationalisation by devising a multi-annual internationalisation strategy and working with partners.