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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) meets with Belgium Minister of Foreign Affaires Karel De Gucht at the EuroMed summit in Barcelona, Spain on November 11, 2005. The summit seeks to improve relations between EU and its Mediterranean neighbors. (UPI Photo/Omar Rashidi/PPO).
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Karel Lodewijk Georgette Emmerence De Gucht (born 27 January 1954 in Overmere) is the current European Commissioner for Trade, from Belgium. Previously, he had been the Development & Humanitarian Aid Commissioner, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and a former chairman of the Flemish Liberals and Democrats (VLD), a Belgian political party. In January 2004 he was forced to step down as chairman and was temporarily replaced until after the elections of 4 June by Dirk Sterckx. The reason for his resignation was a conflict between Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and him about a proposal to give non-citizen immigrants the right to vote in municipal elections, which De Gucht opposed. The conflict severely damaged the party's reputation, as reflected in the 2004 Belgian regional elections results.

De Gucht was elected to the Federal Parliament during the general elections on 18 May 2003. He was a member of the Flemish Parliament 1999–2003 and a member of the European Parliament 1995–1999.

Although elected to the Flemish Parliament and European Parliament in the elections of June 2004 he decided to take up neither seat and instead he was appointed the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs on 18 July 2004.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Karel de Gucht."