Facility municipalities speak their mind

7th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

7 November 2007, BRUSSELS - 54 percent of the residents of the six Flemish facility municipalities around Brussels want to join the greater Brussels region, a survey held by the Flemish broadcaster VRT and its Francophone counterpart RTBF has revealed.

7 November 2007

BRUSSELS - 54 percent of the residents of the six Flemish facility municipalities around Brussels want to join the greater Brussels region, a survey held by the Flemish broadcaster VRT and its Francophone counterpart RTBF has revealed.

The two Belgian public broadcasters held a joint survey in the six Flemish facility municipalities Kraainem, Wezembeek-Oppem, Linkebeek, Sint-Genesius Rode, Drogenbos and Wemmel. The results show that although Dutch and French speakers have differing views on the expansion of Brussels, they do agree on the preservation of the facilities.

Not surprisingly, with 68 percent of residents voting "yes", the French speakers are most in favour of joining the greater Brussels region. By way of comparison, 85 percent of the Flemish inhabitants would choose to remain part of Flanders.

The keenest supporters of the Brussels option are found in Kraainem (64 percent) and Wezembeek-Oppem (63 percent). Wemmel, the facility municipality to the North of Brussels, on the other hand, is very much pro-Flanders (57 percent). Just 36 per cent of Wemmel residents would choose to join Brussels.

What about the facilities?
60 percent of the French and 49 percent of the Flemish speakers are in favour of preserving the facilities. The result is all the more remarkable as the Flemish are traditionally in favour of playing down the facilities.

Still, 11 percent of all residents in the facility municipalities would prefer these facilities to be abolished. That's 40 percent of the Flemish compared to 2 percent of the French speakers.

Some 30 percent, on the other hand, want a further expansion of the facilities. Of them, 36 percent are Francophone and 8 percent are Flemish.

Kraainem residents are among those that are most in favour of expansion. Again, Wemmel residents are the strongest opponents of the idea.

Which of the facilities are in for expansion?
The overall majority of interviewees (89 percent) would like to see an expansion of French speaking health campaigns, for instance to prevent breast cancer.  Also on the list are the possibility of receiving the French language television channel Télé Bruxelles, the possibility for their children to attend local schools subsidised by the French speaking community, a French speaking cultural centre and French language books in the local libraries.

89 percent of the French speaking residents want council meetings to be held in French, a matter which is fiercely opposed by 80 percent of the Flemish.

The infamous circular letter "Peeters", named after former Interior Minister Leo Peeters (Flemish socialist) is a cause of great disagreement.

74 percent of the French speakers want to abolish the rule that all correspondence by the local authorities is sent out in Dutch, unless residents make a specific and written request to receive the letters in French.

The majority of the Flemish (63 percent) support the circular letter, stating that the local authorities of a Flemish municipality can only correspond in the official language of the region in Dutch.

[Copyright Flanders news 2007]

Subject: Belgian news

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