Herman De Croo deposits 210,819 euros, received through illegal pension extras, back to the Chamber | Interior

Former President of the House Herman De Croo (Open Vld) today refunded 210,819 euros to the House. He received that sum of money through extra pension payments, which according to legal experts are ‘illegal’. “I wish to set such an example,” he responds.

At the beginning of March, an employee of the Chamber suddenly came across a shadowy financial construction. As a result of the construction, eight top officials of the federal parliament and two former presidents of parliament have been receiving an extra amount on top of their statutory pension for years. Last week, two legal opinions ruled that these extra pension payments were “illegal”: because of these payments, their pension exceeded the statutory maximum of EUR 7,813.40 gross per month.

Former Chamber President Siegfried Bracke (N-VA) and Herman De Croo (Open Vld) also received considerable pension extras in recent years and therefore ended up in the eye of the storm. De Croo soon announced that he would pay the amount to the Cancer Foundation, because he still assumed that the payments had been made legally. Due to the new legal advice of last week, he has decided to return the amount of 210,819.65 euros to the Chamber. He announced this today in a letter to President of the House of Representatives Eliane Tillieux (PS).

“As a former cancer patient who knows the fight against this disease, it was my intention to transfer this amount to the Foundation against Cancer,” writes the liberal. “But if I had wrongly received this compensation, it goes without saying for me that it will flow back to the Chamber.”

Set example

De Croo says he does not want to wait until parliament decides whether the amounts should be recovered – which is difficult according to lawyers. “I do not know what the decision of our parliament will be, but I do not want to wait for the House to demonstrate that this compensation was wrongly transferred to myself and other colleagues by its services.”


Politics is going through turbulent times and I would like to set an example. This is to avoid further tarnishing my reputation for something that I cannot defend because I have no part in it

Herman De Croo (Open Vld)

According to his son, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open Vld), the former Chamber President is very much refraining from the fuss. By returning the money, Herman De Croo seems to hope that this saga will come to an end. “Politicians are going through turbulent times and I wish to set an example. This is to avoid further tarnishing my reputation for something that I cannot defend because I have no part in it,” he writes. De Croo still denies that he was aware that this construction was illegal. “My decision to refund this fee can therefore in no way be regarded as an admission of guilt.”

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