Peter Moors, chief of staff of Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, is expected to become Belgium’s new ambassador to the EU after the six-month presidency of the EU Council ends in June 2024, according to eight Belgian diplomats and civil servants.
His expected appointment, which has yet to be formally approved, is part of a vast reshuffle of Belgium’s top diplomats, including key ambassadorial posts such as in Washington DC. Many key positions, including in Washington, Moscow, New York and Geneva, are open. One diplomat joked that this year’s overhaul was “the grand slam” of top jobs.
More importantly, it is the last reshuffle before Belgian elections in June 2024. Current polls suggest it will be difficult for the current seven-party coalition to hold together, meaning several diplomats working at the top of government might be looking to get a good job. before political instability.
Although concrete decisions will not take place until next summer, decisions are expected to be made at the end of this month or the beginning of next month, according to five of the diplomats. All diplomats and officials cited in this article were granted anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the discussions.
A veteran of Belgian foreign affairs, Moors has combined diplomatic duties and political experience throughout his career, for example as diplomatic advisor to former Belgian Prime Minister and current MEP Guy Verhofstadt. He has also held director positions in the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is known by diplomats as the “spider in the web” of foreign affairs decisions in Belgium.
Belgium’s current ambassador to the EU, Willem van de Voorde, is expected to return to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brussels after three missions abroad.
Bert Versmessen, the current Belgian ambassador to Rwanda, is in an excellent position to become the future deputy ambassador to the EU. But this has raised questions among Belgian diplomats, because Versmessen and Maures are both Dutch speakers and the two posts are normally split between Dutch-speaking and French-speaking diplomats.
Christophe de Nijs, European advisor to Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib, is in the running to obtain the third position of high European responsibility, that of ambassador to the Political and Security Committee (PSC).
This poses another challenge as it would lead to the creation of (another) all-male top team within the Belgian representation to the EU. Other names circulating for the COPS position include Annelies Verstichel, diplomatic advisor to the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and former MEP Petra De Sutter.
Some Belgian diplomats, such as Frédéric Bernard, chief of staff of European Council President Charles Michel, are also eyeing Belgian and European diplomatic posts, two of them indicated. Bernard aims to become the next EU ambassador to Canada, three EU officials said.
Jacopo Barigazzi contributed reporting.