47th Prime Minister of Belgium (1999 – 2008)
Member of the European Parliament
Leader of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Guy Verhofstadt, born in 1953 in Dendermonde, Belgium, quickly scaled the political career ladder. In 1982, at the age of just 29, he became chairman of his party. In 1985, he was elected to government and became Deputy Prime Minister.
Verhofstadt’s leadership brought the winds of change to Belgian politics: Belgium became the second country in the world to introduce same-sex marriage and legalized euthanasia. He was also successful in turning the economy around thanks to drastic tax cuts for families and businesses. Belgium’s economic growth exceeded all expectations. During his tenure as Prime Minister, Belgian government debt sank from 114 to 84 percent of GDP.
After his resignation as Prime Minister, Verhofstadt was elected to the European Parliament and became leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. He is an advocate of stronger European integration in order to tackle the numerous crises the EU is currently facing. This is also the subject of his latest book "Europe’s Last Chance", which has been released in January 2017.