Wilfried Martens

Wilfried Martens

Infobox Prime Minister
name = Wilfried Martens

order = 43rd Prime Minister of Belgium
term = 17 December 1981 – 7 March 1992
predecessor = Mark Eyskens
successor = Jean-Luc Dehaene
term_start2 = 3 April 1979
term_end2 = 6 April 1981
predecessor2 = Paul Vanden Boeynants
successor2 = Mark Eyskens
birth_date = birth date and age|df=yes|1936|4|19
birth_place = Sleidinge, Belgium
death_date =
death_place =
spouse = Miet Smet
religion = Catholic
party = CD&V
Audio|Nl-be wilfried martens.ogg|Wilfried Martens (IPA2|IPA|ˈʋeɫfɾi:t ˈmɑɾtəns) (born Wilfried Achiel Emma Martens, 19 April 1936) is a Belgian politician. He was born in Sleidinge (East Flanders). Martens has been Prime Minister nine times: four times from 3 April 1979 to 6 April 1981 and five times from 17 December 1981 to 7 March 1992.

Martens was Chairman of the Belgian CVP (now renamed Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams CD&V) from 1972 - 79, sitting as a Deputy in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives (federal parliament) from 1974 - 91, and serving as a Senator from 1991 - 94.

He co-founded the European People's Party (EPP) in 1976 and has been EPP President since 1992.

From 1993 he was President of the European Union of Christian Democrats (EUCD), until its merger with the EPP in 1996. Martens also negotiated with Finnish conservative politician Sauli Niinistö the merger of the European Democrat Union (EDU) into the EPP (formally concluded in 2002). The successful fusion of all center-right European organizations into the EPP - currently the largest transnational European political party with 71 member-parties from 38 countries - is widely recognized as an important achievement of his European political legacy.

From 1994 - 98, he was a Member of the European Parliament, chairing the EPP Group.

From October 2000 to November 2001 he was also the President of the Christian Democrat International (CDI).

Martens holds a doctorate in law, a degree in notarial studies, and holds baccalaureate in Thomistic philosophy of the Catholic University of Louvain. He also studied international political science at Harvard University. He has practised law at the Ghent Court of Appeal.

Among the numerous national and international distinctions, he was honoured in 1998 with the Charles V Prize for his contribution to European Union.

Private life

Martens has five children: two from his first marriage with Lieve Verschroeven (Kris and Anne) and three with Ilse Schouteden (Sarah, Sophie and Simon) who he met in 1988 while she was an assistant working in his cabinet. After the birth of their twins in 1997 they married on 13 November 1998. Ilse Schouteden has a son from her previous marriage. In 2007 he divorced his second wife. On 27 September 2008 he married his ex-mistress from the 1970s Miet Smet, a former Belgian minister. It was his third marriage and her first.

External links

* [http://www.epp.eu/ European People's Party] official site
* [http://www.wilfriedmartens.be/ Wilfried Martens] official site

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