Achille Van Acker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Achille Van Acker
Prime Minister of Belgium
In office
23 April 1954 – 26 June 1958
Monarch Baudouin
Preceded by Jean Van Houtte
Succeeded by Gaston Eyskens
In office
31 March 1946 – 3 August 1946
Monarch Charles (Regent)
Preceded by Paul-Henri Spaak
Succeeded by Camille Huysmans
In office
12 February 1945 – 13 March 1946
Monarch Charles (Regent)
Preceded by Hubert Pierlot
Succeeded by Paul-Henri Spaak
President of the Chamber of Representatives
In office
27 April 1961 – 30 April 1974
Preceded by Paul Kronacker
Succeeded by André Dequae
Personal details
Born (1898-04-08)8 April 1898
Bruges, Belgium
Died 10 July 1975(1975-07-10) (aged 77)
Political party Socialist Party

Achille Honoré Van Acker (8 April 1898 – 10 July 1975) was the 33rd Prime Minister of Belgium in four different cabinets from 1945 to 1958, for a total period of seven years. He was a member of the BSP-PSB – the then still national Belgian Socialist Party. He was nicknamed Achille Charbon.

Life[edit]

Van Acker was born in Bruges on 8 April 1898 in a family with 12 children. Van Acker only went to school until his 10th year. Van Acker became a member of the city council of Bruges in 1926. The following year the 29-year-old Van Acker was elected to the Belgian Chamber of People's Representatives. During the Second World War, Van Acker organised the Vlaamse Centrale der Illegale Partij. In December 1944, while serving as a government minister, Van Acker implemented Belgium's social security system.[1]

After the Second World War, Van Acker became Prime Minister of Belgium in four different cabinets (the first of which saw the passage of Belgium’s first compulsory health insurance law)[2] and served as Minister of Labour and Social Services, Minister of Public Health, Minister of Mobility and Minister of Mining (which led to his nickname). From 1961 until 1974 he served as President of the Chamber of Representatives. He was named Minister of State in 1958.

The first three cabinets led by Van Acker were short-lived because of the crisis pertaining to Leopold III which held Belgium in its grip from 1944–1951.

Initiatives were taken by Van Acker's fourth cabinet to expand social spending on pensions, housing, employment, and education. Steps were also taken to reduce the workweek and to reduce the term of compulsory military service from 21 to 18 months.[3] Earnings-related pension schemes were introduced for manual workers (1955), seamen (1956), and white-collar workers (1957).[4] Allowances were introduced in 1955[5] to cover demolition and rehousing while pension contributions were made obligatory in 1956.[6]

Altogether, the various social reforms realised under Van Acker's fourth cabinet led him to be known as the father of Belgian social security.

Political offices
Preceded by
Hubert Pierlot
Prime Minister of Belgium
1945–1946
Succeeded by
Paul-Henri Spaak
Preceded by
Paul-Henri Spaak
Prime Minister of Belgium
1946
Succeeded by
Camille Huysmans
Preceded by
Jean Van Houtte
Prime Minister of Belgium
1954–1958
Succeeded by
Gaston Eyskens
Preceded by
Paul Kronacker
President of the Chamber of Representatives
1961–1974
Succeeded by
André Dequae

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=8lPh2vwFuU4C&pg=PA72&lpg=PA72&dq=achille+van+acker+welfare+state&source=bl&ots=5BKE9LrhUE&sig=58rBqi5orPtqIAi6kAi4PnDCYi0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=bIE6UI7jD-rU0QWo9ICwBg&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=achille%20van%20acker%20welfare%20state&f=false
  2. ^ Social democracy & welfare capitalism: a century of income security politics by Alexander M. Hicks
  3. ^ Democratic Socialism: A Global Survey Donald F. Busky
  4. ^ Growth to Limits. The Western European Welfare States Since World War II by Peter Flora
  5. ^ Growth to Limits. The Western European Welfare States Since World War II by Peter Flora
  6. ^ http://www.socialsecurity.fgov.be/docs/en/alwa2011_en.pdf