Wouter Beke: “Anyone who takes away alcohol from parliament takes away the last collegiality”

Wouter Beke: “Anyone who takes away alcohol from parliament takes away the last collegiality”
Wouter Beke: “Anyone who takes away alcohol from parliament takes away the last collegiality”
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Alcohol (1)

In exchange for 191.5 euros, MPs could order unlimited alcoholic drinks in the ‘coffee room’ of the federal parliament, according to the invoices that The last news could look into. Coffee, water and tea are free for everyone, but since 2019, MPs have had to pay a flat rate for alcohol. That was originally 160 euros, but the amount has already been indexed several times.

A few weeks ago, Member of Parliament Wouter Beke (CD&V) emphasized the importance of the coffee room. “I am not a big alcohol drinker, but whoever takes this away from the buffet of parliament takes away the last collegiality,” it said on Facebook. “The one between left and right, between progressives and conservatives, between Flemish and Walloons. People talk between pot and pint. And laughed.”

Shy rebel (1)

In the workers’ house in Herstal where he grew up as a child of steel workers, Raoul Hedebouw (PVDA/PTB) says in an HLNpodcast about the warm nest in which he grew up. As a student he was already a leader of school protests. “Thirteen, fourteen years was a turning point for me,” he says.

“Until then I was a nice guy. I was very social, but a bit shy. Humor was already there, and music was essential. Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine, Pukkelpop. Those were fascinating years. I had long hair, very grungy. The fusion of hip-hop and metal has been decisive for me in terms of identity.” Hedebouw sometimes smoked a joint in his youth. “But I did have the character to stop. I felt like I was losing too much energy.”

Alcohol (2)

The PVDA/PTB of Hedebouw refuses to pay for alcohol in parliament. “Consuming alcohol at work is prohibited for employees. That’s why we don’t drink it in the coffee room,” says PVDA faction leader Sofie Merckx The last news. There is a good selection of beer, including Duvel, Orval, Leffe or Westmalle. And the wine selection also apparently changes at regular intervals and depending on the season.

Alcohol has been banned in the Flemish Parliament since last year. This does not yet appear to be an issue at the federal level. “I see very little and very moderate use of alcohol among colleagues, usually limited to meals during the plenary meeting that extend into the evening,” says Vooruit faction leader Joris Vandenbroucke. According to N-VA faction leader Peter De Roover, there are other priorities.

Shy rebel (2)

There can be no doubt about the priorities at the Hedebouw household, unfortunately for serious health reasons. His father was told a few weeks ago that he has lymphatic cancer. “There is a battle going on, but he will get through it,” says Hedebouw. “The solidarity in the family is great. We have to get through this together. The positive is that it can heal; he’s getting chemo. I lost my grandpa when I was sixteen. And we have Laura’s mother (Hedebouws partner, ed.) already lost to breast cancer three years ago. So we are working on that anyway. I now visit my mother and father every week. I will also make time for my father during the campaign.” Hedebouw himself emphasizes that he has always continued to talk to his parents and he also gives this as good advice: “Open your heart before it is too late.”

The article is in Dutch

Belgium

Tags: Wouter Beke takes alcohol parliament takes collegiality

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