Belgians’ top leaders in Zaragoza
Belgian Crown Prince Filip and other federal ministers were at the World Expo in Zaragoza in Spain on Thursday.4 July 2008
BELGIUM – It was Belgian day at the World Expo in Zaragoza, Spain, Thursday with the presence of Belgian Crown Prince Filip and other federal ministers.
However, there are no representatives of Flanders and Wallonia, as these two regions have refused to make a financial contribution to the Belgian pavilion, reports Francophone daily La Libre Belgique.
Anne-Andrée Léonard, the Francophone commissioner for the event, explains: "We first contacted the Flemish region, which refused to support us financially."
"Yves Leterme (the present federal Prime Minister, who was the Flemish premier at the time) wrote us that Flanders did not wish to participate in the World Expo. Later, the Wallonian region followed the Flemish example."
"It was a particular disappointment for us, as the World Expo is about water, which is a regional issue in Belgium", Léonard continues.
"It's a missed chance. We could have improved the image of Belgium abroad."
According to La Libre, the budget for the Belgian project in Zaragoza dropped to EUR 2 million after the refusal of Flanders and Wallonia to take part. France has a budget of EUR 15 million and Algeria can count on EUR 8 million, the newspaper points out.
It is even possible that Belgium's presence at Zaragoza will eventually entail a financial loss. According to certain sources, there is still a shortage of EUR 200,000.
[flandersnews.be / Expatica]