What do you like about Europe?
Europe is for me like a big family. Since the European Union exists, it is so easy to travel from one country to another and discover different cultures. Having the same currency makes it even easier. It gives me a feeling of freedom, of liberty. And the more I travel around the world, the more I get to appreciate these advantages that many of us take for granted.
What did your country give to Europe (music, literature, theatre, politics,…)?
Well, we have some great singers and bands in the last decades, like Jacques Brel or more recently Stromae.
But we have had for sure also many painters and artists like Rubens, Magritte, Delvaux, Rops that are well known outside our borders.
Who doesn’t know that Belgium is the heart of Europe with the Headquarter of the Euorpean Union?
And of course, Belgium is the most famous supplier of Fries, Beer, Waffles and Chocolate.
What did Europe give to your country (generals, kings & queens, artists, concepts)?
Belgium is a puzzle state having got parts as well from the Netherlands than from France and later from Germany. Our first king was also German.
Belgium has become a Federal State where different languages and cultures live alongside. Belgians are the champions of compromises.
In result of your time at JCI: What did you love about JCI?
During the 8 years of official membership, JCI gave me many opportunities, but only because I wanted to take them.
This organization has so many things to give to each member but it is very important to to be receptive for any experience.
JCI also gave me the opportunity to travel the world and to discover parts of the world I would not have travelled to without JCI. Altough I have to admit that I barely see the country. However, I can say that I have friends and feel home in about 100 countries around the globe.
What do you love about the Senate?
Well, this question is still a bit tricky to answer as I am only a Senator for less than 6 months, and still an active member for 9 more months.
Although I have never taken any position or responsibility in order to get granted with a Senatorship, I am very happy being a lifetime member. Because this lifetime membership will give me the opportunity to continue participating in events, meeting with friends around the globe but also supporting the younger generations.
What is your vision for Europe in 2044, the 75th anniversary of the European Senate?
Well, seeing the latest changes in different political matters, I really hope that European citizens will again understand what the advantages of the European Union are and collaborate rather than put spoke in wheel.
With the technical evolution and the multitude of transportation, Europe and the world became like a village.
I hope that people will stop thinking within their borders and consider each human being as such instead of stigmatize someone because of his/her nationality or religion.
What is the action you take to make that vision happen?
First of all, I need to stay openminded myself and avoid to start thinking in categories or having any prejudices. Next to this, I have to teach my environment to do the same, each time I see something contrary.
As a JCI member, I have learned so much about other cultures and realized that it is not necessarily my education, my culture, my conviction that is the best one.
I will continue to defend those values over the next 25 years and beyond.