Alexander De Croo
De Croo in 2022
Prime Minister of Belgium
Assumed office
1 October 2020
Preceded bySophie Wilmès
Minister of Finance
In office
9 December 2018 – 1 October 2020
Prime MinisterCharles Michel
Sophie Wilmès
Preceded byJohan Van Overtveldt
Succeeded byVincent Van Peteghem
Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium
In office
22 October 2012 – 1 October 2020
Prime MinisterElio Di Rupo
Charles Michel
Sophie Wilmès
Preceded byVincent Van Quickenborne
Succeeded byVincent Van Quickenborne
Minister of Pensions
In office
22 October 2012 – 11 October 2014
Prime MinisterElio Di Rupo
Preceded byVincent Van Quickenborne
Succeeded byDaniel Bacquelaine
Leader of the Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats
In office
12 December 2009 – 22 October 2012
DeputyVincent Van Quickenborne
Patricia Ceysens
Preceded byGuy Verhofstadt (Acting)
Succeeded byGuy Verhofstadt (Acting)
Minister of Development Cooperation
In office
11 October 2014 – 1 October 2020
Prime MinisterCharles Michel
Sophie Wilmès
Preceded byJean-Pascal Labille [fr]
Personal details
Born (1975-11-03) 3 November 1975 (age 48)
Vilvoorde, Flanders, Belgium
Political partyOpen Flemish Liberals and Democrats
SpouseAnnik Penders
EducationVrije Universiteit Brussel (MSc)
Northwestern University (MBA)

Alexander De Croo (born 3 November 1975) is a Belgian politician and businessman who has served as the prime minister of Belgium since October 2020.

De Croo was born in Vilvoorde, Flemish Brabant, and studied business engineering at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel before attaining an MBA at Northwestern University in the United States. He worked for Boston Consulting Group before starting his own company, Darts-ip, in 2006. De Croo became involved with the Belgian political party Open Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten (Open VLD), of which he was chairman from 2009 to 2012. From 2012 to 2020, De Croo served in the governments of Elio Di Rupo, Charles Michel, and Sophie Wilmès as a deputy prime minister of Belgium.

During his tenure as deputy prime minister he served as the Minister of Pensions from 2012 to 2014, as Minister of Development Cooperation from 2014 to 2020, and as Minister of Finance from 2018 to 2020. On 1 October 2020, over a year after the 2019 federal elections, the De Croo Government was formed to replace Wilmès' minority government, with De Croo as prime minister.

Early life and career

Alexander De Croo was born on 3 November 1975 in Vilvoorde in Flemish Brabant, Belgium,[1] and was one of two children of the politician and Minister of State Herman De Croo and his wife Françoise Desguin.[2] In 1993, he attended the Vrije Universiteit Brussel where he graduated in 1998 in Business Engineering. He attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, in 2002, and completed an MBA at the Kellogg School of Management in 2004. Prior to his political career, De Croo became a project leader at Boston Consulting Group in 1999. In 2006 he founded a new company called Darts-ip that specialized in providing services to intellectual property professionals.[3]

Early political career

In 2009, De Croo participated for the first time in politics, standing in the 2009 European elections. He received more than 47,000 votes.[4] On 26 October, De Croo became a candidate for the presidency of his political party, Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open VLD), to succeed the transitional party president, Guy Verhofstadt. He chose Vincent Van Quickenborne and Patricia Ceysens as his running mates to compete against Marino Keulen and Gwendolyn Rutten. On 12 December, he was elected president in the second round with 11,676 votes; Marino Keulen received 9,614 votes.[5] His election was considered remarkable as he had almost no previous experience as a politician.[6][7]

Political crisis

Five months after being elected party leader, De Croo threatened to withdraw the Open VLD from the governing coalition if there was no solution to the constitutional dispute in the Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde voting issue. After Open VLD's deadline passed the party left the government and then Prime Minister Yves Leterme announced the government's resignation. This was accepted by King Albert II on 26 April 2010.[8] During the elections for the Senate in 2010, De Croo obtained more than 301,000 votes, the third most in the Dutch-speaking constituency[4] and served as a senator until 22 October 2012.[9]

Career in government

Part of the Di Rupo government

De Croo succeeded Van Quickenborne in the Di Rupo Government as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Pensions on 22 October 2012[10] after Van Quickenborne resigned to become mayor of Kortrijk.[11] In December Gwendolyn Rutten was elected as the new chairwoman of Open VLD.[12]

Part of the Michel I and II governments

After the 2014 Belgian federal election and its Federal Government formation, it was decided that he would remain Deputy Prime Minister in the newly formed Michel I Government. De Croo also became Minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecom and Postal Services[13][14] while Daniel Bacquelaine took over from him as Minister of Pensions.[14] This government took office on 11 October 2014.[15]

During De Croo's time in office, Belgium became the first country to suspend official development assistance to Burundi after the beginning of violent unrest in the African country from 2015.[16] In 2017, De Croo pledged €25 million ($26.81 million) through 2025 to eradicate African sleeping sickness.[17] He also was one of the founders of the She Decides movement, a reaction against the re-installation of the Mexico City Policy by President Donald Trump.[18]

After a disagreement within the government over the UN Global Compact for Migration, the N-VA left the governing coalition, causing the administration to become a minority government on 9 December 2018, known as Michel II.[19] De Croo became Minister of Finance, replacing Johan Van Overtveldt.[20]

In December 2018, De Croo took the stage during the Global Citizen Festival Mandela 100 concert in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was the final event of the international campaign #SheIsEqual for women's rights which attracted €780 million in commitments.[21]

Part of the Wilmès I and II governments

Under the caretaker administration of Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès, he oversaw a financial stimulus package to tackle the COVID-19 crisis and a deal to save Brussels Airlines in 2020.[22] He was elected joint deputy chairman of Open VLD, together with Egbert Lachaert.[23]

Prime Minister

De Croo with U.S. President Joe Biden and King Philippe, 15 June 2021

On 23 September 2020, Alexander De Croo and Paul Magnette (PS) were appointed by the King to form a government.[24] On 30 September 2020, it was announced that De Croo would take over the position of prime minister, succeeding Wilmès.[25]

The formation of the Belgian government (Vivaldi) took a considerable amount of time. The book De doodgravers van België by Wouter Verschelden [nl] states that the main reason for the prolonged negotiations was a scandal about communication between De Croo and an Italian pornographic film actress.[26][27] In August 2021, Corriere della Sera quoted statements by the implicated actress, claiming that De Croo had messaged her seeking a meeting and that they had not met, but had continued to exchange messages.[28]

De Croo's government has a higher proportion of women ministers than any previous Belgian government: half of the ministers are women.[29]

In June 2021, he visited the site of the Antwerp building collapse with King Philippe of Belgium and spoke with emergency workers.[30]

De Croo with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in Jerusalem, Israel, 23 November 2023
De Croo with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi and French President Emmanuel Macron in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 2 December 2023

In February 2022, the government adopted a law to make the labour market more flexible: employees will have the possibility, provided that their company agrees, of switching to a four-day week. In return, their working days will be extended to 9.5 hours (corresponding to a 38-hour week). The law also makes working hours between 8 p.m. and midnight more flexible, as they will no longer be considered as night work and will not entitle employees to any compensation.[31]

The government wants to increase military spending to 2 per cent of GDP in order to comply with the demands of NATO and the U.S. government, which is causing tension within its coalition. The right-wing supports the plan, but the ecologists are opposed, arguing that the government should have other priorities than the military, while the socialists remain undecided.[32]

On 26 November 2022, De Croo and foreign minister Hadja Lahbib visited Ukraine, meeting president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and pledging continued Belgian support to Ukraine.[33]

In November 2023, De Croo called the Israeli bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip "disproportionate", but said that "Belgium will not take sides" in the Israel–Hamas war.[34]

On 26 February 2024 DeCroo travelled to Paris, where Emmanuel Macron was holding an emergency summit over the situation in Ukraine, as they had just suffered the loss of Avdiivka. Czech PM Petr Fiala proposed to purchase 500,000 rounds of artillery ammunition for Volodymyr Zelensky's forces. This was the second time in one month the Czech government had aired the matter. The French had previously vetoed the idea to purchase the ammunition from foreign sources.[35] The Dutch government of Mark Rutte announced, through him on that day in Paris, that it would provide €100 million for this purpose, and DeCroo announced that his government would provide €200 million. Fiala managed to attract 15 nations to his cause. The Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Costa, said that the group defense ministers had been tasked with a 7 March deadline to formulate and execute the plan.[36][37][38]

Political views and ideology

Like the majority of party leaders in Belgium, De Croo is in favour of greater limits on the political power of the Belgian monarch. He is of the opinion that the monarch's power should be ceremonial, similar to that of other Western European monarchs.[39]

Personal life

De Croo is married to Annik Penders and they have two children.[40] He is a keen equestrian and takes part in a formal event each year together with his father; in 2010 he broke a foot and an elbow when he fell from his horse.[41] He is fluent in Dutch and English, as well as French, the native language of his mother.[42]

Other activities

European Union organizations

International organizations

Non-profit organizations



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  2. ^ "Biography". Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  3. ^ "Wie is Alexander?" [Who is Alexander?]. (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
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  22. ^ "Belgium Forms New Government after 16-Month Deadlock]". Reuters. 30 September 2020. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
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  25. ^ "Flemish Liberal Alexander De Croo to be Appointed Belgium's Prime Minister". 30 September 2020. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  26. ^ "Analist Wouter Verschelden schetst vernietigend beeld van vorming regering-De Croo: "Ik probeer nooit negatief te zijn, maar..."".
  27. ^ "POLITICO Brussels Playbook: Slovenian takeover - Southern fiscal front - Travel reloaded". Politico. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  28. ^ "La pornostar Eveline Dellai e la chat con il premier belga Alexander De Croo: "Sì, voleva vedermi, ma non è l'unico"" [The Pornstar Eveline Dellai and the chat with Belgian Premier Alexander De Croo: "Yes, he wanted to see me, but he's not the only one."] (in Italian). Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  29. ^ "Regering-De Croo is meest vrouwelijke ooit: tien vrouwen en tien mannen" [De Croo Government is the Most Feminine Ever:Ten Women and Ten Men] (in Dutch). Het Nieuwsblad. 1 October 2020. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  30. ^ "Five workers confirmed dead after school collapses in Antwerp, Belgium". South China Morning Post. 20 June 2021. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  31. ^ "Emploi. La Belgique s'invente une semaine de quatre jours à sa façon". 16 February 2022.
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  34. ^ Shankar, Priyanka (10 November 2023). "'Inhumane': Top Belgium officials criticise Israeli bombing of Gaza". Aljazeera.
  35. ^ "EU seeks more ammunition for Ukraine to reverse Putin's advance".
  36. ^ ((cite news)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  37. ^ ((cite news)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  38. ^ ((cite news)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  48. ^ "Europe Policy Group" (PDF). Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  49. ^ "Image".
Political offices Preceded byVincent Van Quickenborne Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium 2012–2020 Succeeded byVincent Van Quickenborne Minister of Pensions 2012–2014 Succeeded byDaniel Bacquelaine Preceded byJean-Pascal Labille Minister of Development Cooperation 2014-2020 Succeeded byMeryame Kitir Preceded byJohan Van Overtveldt Minister of Finance 2018–2020 Succeeded byVincent Van Peteghem Preceded bySophie Wilmès Prime Minister of Belgium 2020–present Incumbent Academic offices Preceded byMarcelo Rebelo de Sousa Invocation Speaker of the College of Europe 2021 Succeeded byRoberta Metsola