Petra De Sutter, 57, is the Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium. As Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration, Public Enterprises, Telecommunication and the Postal Services, she is committed to addressing the challenges of digitalisation and sustainability and ensuring a green line across government policy. She will be one of the Keynote Speakers at the 33rd European Green Party Council.
Before De Sutter's entry into politics, she was a professor of gynaecology, as well as head of the reproductive medicine department at Ghent University Hospital. It was her concern about the harmful substances in our environment that led her to politics and to join Groen.
Petra De Sutter was first elected as Belgian Senator and served on the Council of Europe. In the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, she was a critical factor in advancing debates on corruption, genetic technologies, surrogacy, discrimination and violence against refugee women, and EU migration. She was then elected member of the European Parliament in 2019, where she sat on various committees such as the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, and was most notably the first Green Chair of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection.
A greener and more social Belgium
Today, De Sutter is working on ensuring a transition to a greener and more social Belgium for everyone since she entered her current role in October 2020. Upon the creation of the Vivaldi government, composed of 7 parties including Groen, the Prime Minister Alexander De Croo qualified the coalition government as being the 'greenest one ever negotiated at the federal level'.
The Belgian government, and especially the Ecolo-Groen Ministers, are working to secure a green and just transition in Belgium. They are especially planning measures to transition to renewable energy sources including by doubling the country's capacity of offshore wind farms. Moreover, they secured that half of the federal proposal for the Recovery Plan would go towards green investment. They are scaling up investments in trains to make public transport a more appealing mobility option. After a ten-year wait, they are now developing a new federal sustainable development plan. De Sutter states that:
"Less CO2, less pollution, more jobs, those are our priorities. With five ecological ministers, including myself as Deputy Prime Minister, we have the possibility of making our country truly sustainable."
A necessary voice for solidarity and a people's vaccine amidst the health crisis
Petra De Sutter has been a long-time advocate for increased public investment in the health sector and has taken action to ensure a fast and efficient response to the health crisis. She has highlighted the need to vaccinate quickly and lift vaccine patents. De Sutter has also taken a holistic approach to the crisis and advocated for a 'Health in all Policies' approach. In a joint article, she writes that: "A healthy society should not just be a means to a healthy economy, but rather it should be an objective in itself."
The devastating impact of the coronavirus in India reaffirms the need for global solidarity amidst this health crisis. Petra De Sutter has expressed continued concern over vaccine nationalism and a possible 'EU first policy' during the crisis. She highlights that "vaccines should be available and accessible for everyone in the world." Now, Belgium has committed to sending medical aid worth 3 million euros to the country.
Europa en België tonen zich solidair met India. Een wereldwijde pandemie bestrijd je immers samen, in alle solidariteit. Ons land stuurt op vraag van de Indische regering antivirale middelen op. @MeryameKitirhttps://t.co/RP3WrfCNOP— Petra De Sutter (@pdsutter) April 26, 2021
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, De Sutter has also worked on many other pressing issues including public investment, artificial intelligence, labour rights, access to the internet, and the recovery plan.
The 33rd European Greens Council
Across Europe, the Greens are getting ready to lead Europe towards a more fair, just and sustainable future. In preparation for the current challenges ahead, such as the implementation of a Green Recovery and upcoming elections in Germany and France, the Green family is coming together at the 33rd European Greens Council.
Register now to hear Petra De Sutter speak on 29 May, the second day of the 33rd European Greens Council!