Karel De Gucht’s new speechwriter.Karel De Gucht, the European commissioner for trade, has recruited Bernard Bulcke, a former journalist, to be a speechwriter and member of his private office. Bulcke has more recently been something of a spin-doctor – he was spokesperson for the Belgian permanent representation to the EU – but used to report on the EU for the Belgian newspaper De Standaard. His own political sympathies are probably more with the Flemish Christian Democrats than De Gucht’s Liberals, but lately he has been writing a column for the (left-leaning) De Morgen. Indeed, in a column published on 9 November, after bemoaning the state of EU-US relations, he concluded: “The one big exception that the US government cannot ignore is trade policy, an exclusively EU responsibility. Consultations on a new trade agreement will start next year. For Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht that will be an interesting time: the ultimate test for the once-vaunted transatlantic relations.” And for Bulcke too, it seems, after that very public job application.