Visit of the Grand Master to Brussels
The Grand Master of the Order of Malta, His Most Eminent Highness Fra’ Andrew Bertie, made an official visit to Brussels from 29 January to 1 February, accompanied by a delegation composed of the Grand Chancellor, Head of the Executive Branch, of the Grand Hospitaller, Minister of Health and International Cooperation, and including the Order’s official representatives to the Belgian government and the European Commission.
On Monday 29 January, His Majesty King Albert II of Belgium received the Grand Master in the Royal Palace in Brussels.
On the same day, the Grand Master was received by Armand De Decker, Minister of Cooperation in Development, who offered on behalf of the Belgian government an official dinner in his honour at the Palais d’Egmont. The dinner was preceded by restricted talks.
Grand Master Fra’ Andrew Bertie and the delegation members also had encounters on a European level with:
– Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament
– José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission
– Jàn Figel, European Commissioner with responsibility, among other things, for culture and youth, in charge of the “European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008
– Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Secretary General of NATO
– Antonio Cavaco, Director General of ECHO (European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office).
A delegation of European parliamentarians offered a luncheon in honour of the Grand Master.
The Order’s Grand Master also made a visit to the Albert I and Queen Elisabeth Hospital, where the rector of the Catholic University of Louvain, Prof. Bernard Coulie, received him. The hospital, which specialises in palliative treatment, receives significant financial aid from the Order of Malta.