It was never my intention to offend Prime Minister Balkenende. I understand that this was the case and offer my apologiesBelgian minister apologizes to Dutch PM Jun 06, 2005
I strongly believe in a trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur. The moment has come and I'm convinced it can be reachedEU keen to secure an early Mercosur deal Feb 08, 2011
This is a clear verdict for open trade and fair access to raw materialEU task force on raw materials sought Jul 07, 2011
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.