The new Belgian government has no plans to reduce its 53.5% stake in full-service telecoms operator Proximus, according to Petra De Sutter, the minister responsible for the state’s shareholdings. In a policy note, De Sutter said the importance of ‘continued public participation’ in Proximus and the national postal service Bpost (51%) has become ‘all the more clear’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Belga news agency. ‘As a government, we can ensure the quality of service in these key sectors throughout the country, without impeding efficient operational management,’ she said. The government opened the door to a possible reduction of its shareholding in 2015 by removing the legal obligation for the state to hold a majority stake in Proximus and Bpost. Petra De Sutter’s predecessor, the Flemish liberal Philippe De Backer, advocated such a policy last year, arguing that ‘a government runs a country, not companies’.