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Jean-Luc Dehaene
Jean-Luc Dehaene 675 (cropped).jpg
Prime Minister of Belgium
In office
7 March 1992 – 12 July 1999
Monarch Baudouin
Albert II
Preceded by Wilfried Martens
Succeeded by Guy Verhofstadt
Personal details
Jean Luc Joseph Marie Dehaene

(1940-08-07)7 August 1940
Montpellier, France
Died 15 May 2014(2014-05-15) (aged 73)
Quimper, France
Political party Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V)
Spouse(s) Celie Verbeke
Children 4

Jean-Luc Dehaene (7 August 1940 – 15 May 2014), nicknamed "The Plumber" or "The Minesweeper", was a Belgian politician. He served as Prime Minister of Belgium from 1992 until 1999.

Early life and political career

Dehaene was born on 7 August 1940 in Montpellier, France, when his parents were fleeing the advance of the German army into Belgium and France. During his studies at the Université de Namur and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, he was a member of the Olivaint Conference of Belgium.

Dehaene's long-time wife Celie Verbeke is a native of Illinois in the United States but both her paternal and maternal grandparents were Belgian immigrants. Since she was raised by her parents in Dutch and speaks without a foreign accent, the Belgian public remained unaware of her American background for a long time.

Dehaene was a keen football fan, and viewed it as an important part of Belgian national identity. He was a supporter of Club Brugge K.V.. In 1981, he became Minister of Social Affairs and Institutional Reform, until 1988, when he became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Communications and Institutional Reform.



On 15 May 2014, Dehaene died after a fall while holidaying in France. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier the same year and was not seeking reelection as a MEP in the 2014 elections for health reasons. He was 73 years old.

In the aftermath of his death, he received tributes from the Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo who described him as an "exceptional statesman". Tributes were also made by the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso.

His body lay in state in Vilvoorde's town hall and the retired King Albert II and the Flemish Minister-President Kris Peeters both visited Vilvoorde to pay their respects.

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