The Swedish government is threatening to withdraw the Swedish subsidies for Idea, an international knowledge centre for democracy. Reason: former Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme is under fire for his “authoritarian leadership” of the centre.

“Serious shortcomings” in and mistrust in Idea’s management. Also, Leterme seems to have channelled Swedish tax money to pay his Belgian taxes, something Stockholm is not amused about.

Even if this may be legally in order the Swedish undersecretary for Development Cooperation says “it smells strange”. Sweden pays 5 million euros to a very nice office for Leterme in the centre of Stockholm. When Sweden cuts in its subsidies it would not be the first time a country has turned off the tap. Problems of the past plague Idea.

When Yves Leterme moved to Stockholm, he told Swedish media that he would receive less salary and that he would pay for his own apartment in Stockholm. Now three years later it has become apparent that he has used Swedish tax money to pay his Belgian taxes. The goodness that he seems to have at the beginning is gone with the wind.

>> Listen to my radio chat in Dutch in De Ochtend on Belgian Radio 1, on 22 August 2018

Feature photo by Israel Palacio/Unsplash