As a teenager, she was drawn to politics. She studied criminology to bring a touch of psychology, medicine and social issues to her law studies. Everything a future Minister of Health needed.
And if his network was above all made up of anonymous people? Christie Morreale multiplies the direct contacts in the field and, above all, she makes sure to maintain these relations afterwards. “I receive many messages from medical directors such as nursing assistants or call center agents, she confides. This is my network, it allows you to feel the pulse. I visited all the vaccination centers, I met doctors, nurses there and we stayed in touch. These people continue to feed me, to inform me, to dialogue with me. I do not have ONE scientific mentor to advise me , I have all these people who call me and communicate directly with me.”
And if his network was above all made up of anonymous people? Christie Morreale multiplies the direct contacts in the field and, above all, she makes sure to maintain these relations afterwards. “I receive many messages from medical directors such as nursing assistants or call center agents, she confides. This is my network, it allows you to feel the pulse. I visited all the vaccination centers, I met doctors, nurses there and we stayed in touch. These people continue to feed me, to inform me, to dialogue with me. I do not have ONE scientific mentor to advise me , I have all these people who call me and communicate directly with me.” The confidence illustrates very well the way of functioning of the vice-president of the Walloon government. But rest assured, we still tried to find out a little more about the network of this woman born in 1977 and who, from adolescence, was attracted to politics, electoral debates, etc. “I measure the chance to exercise a profession which is first of all a passion”, she summarizes. Her first political meeting, she must have been 15-16 years old, was with her mother to go and listen to Laurette Onkelinx. “I immediately felt at home,” recalls Christie Morreale, who considers the former Deputy Prime Minister to be her “mentor in politics”. Her first job, moreover, was at the Onkelinx firm, where she notably contributed to the development of the first federal plan to combat violence against women. “With Laurette, I learned rigor, hard work and the importance of having unfailing determination,” she says. Among his colleagues at the time, there was notably Laurence Bovy, the current director of Vivaqua and president of the SFPI. Christie Morreale was then freshly graduated in criminology (University of Liège). She had started law at the same time as Christian Behrendt (now professor of constitutional law in Liège), Clarisse Ramakers (Agoria) or Jean-Marc Galand, the current chief of staff of the Minister of Public Service Valérie De Bue (MR). “Jean-Marc was in the year just above, it was he who made me discover the university”, specifies Christie Morreale. Entering university, and particularly law school, was a shock for this daughter of a worker and an employee. “I heard the teachers talking about so and so who is the son of the prosecutor or so and so who is the daughter of a lawyer, she says. The remarks could seem harmless but I felt them as hurtful, as a reminder that maybe I didn’t belong because I didn’t come from a legal background. This social determinism made me uncomfortable in law school.” This is why, in master’s degree, she branched off into criminology, in order to broaden the approach to questions by combining law with psychology, medicine or social issues. We can’t resist the urge to reveal the subject of his dissertation to you: criminal biker gangs! She did it under the guidance of Professor Michaël Dantinne, a renowned criminologist from ULiège with whom she has remained in contact ever since. A small detail to close the university chapter: if she did not feel out of place in law school, Christie Morreale was nevertheless chosen as a student delegate. The fiber of politics and elections, no doubt… In 2003, it’s a surprise. The young adviser from the Onkelinx firm is invited to Boulevard de l’Empereur on a Sunday at 4.45 p.m. She meets, for the first time, Elio Di Rupo who, after an hour-long interview, offers her to become vice-president of a party which then weighed 40% of the Walloon electorate. For a 26-year-old woman, with little political experience and no electoral mandate, this lightning-fast promotion could have turned out to be a poisoned gift. Christie Morreale did not explode in mid-flight and neither did she get bogged down in a figurehead role to which many, especially in the Liège federation of the PS, would have liked to confine her. “To this day, I still don’t know if it slowed down or accelerated my career, she says. But indeed, it exposed me a lot.” She sees herself more as a woman in the shadows, an activist who works to advance her files in ministerial offices. She will join that of Philippe Courard (Walloon Minister for Local Authorities) where her colleagues will be Françoise Lannoy (now director of the Agency for Quality Life, the administration in charge of health and well-being in Wallonia), Sylvie Marique, the boss of the Public Services of Wallonia, and a certain Pierre-Yves Dermagne, now Deputy Prime Minister and his alter ego in the consultation committees on employment. The first elective mandate of the vice-president of the PS will be communal: in 2006, she becomes an alderman in Esneux, a position she will occupy for 10 years. “I had been elected to the Walloon Parliament, and I am totally in line with the logic of decumulation, so I abandoned my municipal mandate, says Christie Morreale. It was a heartbreak because I loved acting very concretely by launching a crèche, youth center or family planning centre.” In the Walloon Parliament, she finds Pierre-Yves Dermagne but also Patrick Prevot, Bruno Lefebvre or Joëlle Kapompole. In the other parties, she gets on well with the liberals Christine Defraigne and Valérie De Bue (they will participate together in a mission on women’s rights at the UN) as well as with the ecologists Manu Disabato and Philippe Henry. She also has links with the trade union world, in particular Jean-François Tamellini (general secretary of the Walloon FGTB) and Nathalie Lionnet (Setca). They are all valued colleagues. But his real friends in politics are the Verviers deputy André Frédéric and Thierry Giet, who was for a long time leader of the PS group in the Chamber before being appointed judge at the Constitutional Court. If she displays a very socialist course, Christie Morreale concedes that at the start, she hesitated between the PS and Ecolo. Both for environmental issues, which were a priority for her very early on, and for those relating to gender equality. The importance, in his eyes, of social justice tipped the scales to the red side. However, she continued to take a close interest in ecology, through food cooperatives or the emergence of renewable energies. She thus made the acquaintance of Bruno Venanzi, at the time when he directed Lampiris, and retains a real admiration for “the dazzling success” of this company. Christie Morreale knows another business leader from Liège well: Julien Compère, the new boss of FN-Herstal. “We are both Sérésiens, we attended the same secondary school and we even faced each other in an eloquence tournament, concludes the Minister of Health. But I will not tell you who won.”