Kathleen Van Brempt (pronounced [kɑtˈleːn vɑn ˈbrɛmpt]; born 18 November 1969 in Wilrijk), is a Belgian social-democratic politician and member of the SP-A. She currently serves as Member of the European Parliament (MEP) as part of the Party of European Socialists and is leader of the local branch of her party in Antwerp.
Education and early career
Van Brempt studied at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven where she became licentiate in sociology in 1991.
After having worked for the SP-A in capacity of a researcher and as political secretary to Louis Tobback, in 1999 Van Brempt was appointed deputy chief of staff to the minister of employment Renaat Landuyt.
Member of the European Parliament, 2000–2003
In her first term as Member of the European Parliament from 6 January 2000 to 1 October 2003, Van Brempt served on the Committee on Culture, Youth, Education, the Media and Sport (2000-2002) and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy (2002-2003).
Role in Belgian politics
On 1 October 2003, Van Brempt resigned from the European Parliament to become State Secretary for Labor organization and Welfare in the working place in the second Belgian federal government headed by Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt. During the regional elections of 2004, Van Brempt was elected to the Flemish Parliament and she became Minister for Mobility, Social Economy and Equal Opportunities in the Flemish government.
Since 2001, Van Brempt is a member of the city council of Antwerp
Member of the European Parliament, 2009–present
In the 2009 European elections, Van Brempt was elected as Member of the European Parliament in the Socialist fraction. She was re-elected in the 2014 elections. Within her parliamentary group, she has been serving as vice-chairwoman under the leadership of successive chairmen Gianni Pittella (2014-2018) and Udo Bullmann (since 2018). As Vice-President of the S&D-group she is responsible for sustainable development, environment, industry and transport.
Since 2009, Van Brempt has been a member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. In this capacity, she was a member of the European Parliament’s delegation of observers to the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima and the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. In 2016, Van Brempt was made chair of the Volkswagen emissions scandal inquiry into whether the EU should have acted more quickly to address the issue; she was elected in an unopposed race.
Van Brempt also has served on the parliament’s delegations for relations with Iran (2009-2014) and Canada (since 2014). In addition to her committee assignments, she is a member of the European Parliament Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals; the European Parliament Intergroup on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights; and the MEP Heart Group, a group of parliamentarians who have an interest in promoting measures that will help reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
In March 2018, Van Brempt lost out against Udo Bullmann in the Socialists and Democrats group’s internal vote on a new leader; Bullmann received 86 votes, while Van Brempt got 61 votes.