Guy Verhofstadt is the leader of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), a centrist-liberal grouping in the European Parliament, and the former Prime Minister of Belgium (1999-2008). He is also the European Parliament’s representative in the Brexit negotiations.
After studying law at the University of Ghent, he became a member of the Ghent City Council and quickly rose within the ranks of Belgium’s Party for Freedom and Progress (PVV). In 1985, he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies and became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Budget while still in his 30s. As a leader of the opposition, Verhofstadt reinvented the party, which became the current Flemish Liberals and Democrats (VLD), rendering it more attractive to other parties’ representatives. After taking time away from politics, he returned as the president of the VLD, winning the general election and becoming the first liberal Prime Minister in over 60 years.
As a Member of the European Parliament, Verhofstadt advocates for a federal Europe, supporting greater integration within the European Union in order to build a stronger commercial and trading bloc with a single currency, treasury and economic policy. He believes this would help tackle economic inequalities and other issues by creating more jobs and rendering Europe a superpower, capable of competing with the United States and the emerging Asian economies. A regular voice in media across Europe, he is also the author of several books on Europe including “The United States of Europe”, “The New Age of Empires” and “Emerging from the Crisis: How Europe can Save the World”.