Flemish Interest denies call for foreign workers
24 November 2005, BRUSSELS — The extreme-right Flemish Interest refuted media reports on Thursday that it was appealing for foreign workers to fill unwanted jobs in Belgium.
24 November 2005
BRUSSELS — The extreme-right Flemish Interest refuted media reports on Thursday that it was appealing for foreign workers to fill unwanted jobs in Belgium.
Party chairman Frank Vanhecke and party spokesman Joris Van Hauthem said the claims were "as wrong as lying", newspaper 'De Tijd' reported on Thursday.
Belgian media earlier reported that a new party leaflet indicated the Flemish Interest was in favour of allowing foreign workers from non-EU countries to immigrate to Belgium.
This was despite the fact party leaders were planning to visit Morocco next month in an attempt to reduce the inflow of Moroccans into Belgium.
The Flemish Interest will hold on Saturday an economic congress called 'Enterprising Flanders'. However, it is not the party's long-awaited social-economic congress. Debate will not be held over the party's social policies.
However, the party's social policies can be found in three brochures that Flemish Interest MPs Koen Bultinck and Guy D'Haeseleer presented last month.
In one of the brochures, called 'Aging and the Labour Market', a proposal to allow foreign workers to immigrate into Belgium from non-EU countries can be found.
"It is possible that in the long-term, non-EU nationals could help fill 'troublesome job vacancies," the brochure said.
These vacancies are jobs that prove difficult to fill because there are no or insufficient candidate employees.
This is often because the jobs have unfavourable workplace conditions. Flemish workers are not willing to take them on or do not have the right qualifications.
The Flemish employment agency VDAB said there are thousands of such job vacancies, newspaper 'De Morgen' reported.
It was not certain what nationalities the Flemish Interest — long associated with its anti-immigrant stance — had in mind for its foreign workers policy.
But the brochure said foreign workers would have to undergo a Dutch-language exam in their country of origin. They would also be tested on trade skills and awareness of Flemish culture before being allowed into Belgium.
"People with a criminal record or political extremists are not welcome," the brochure added.
However, the Flemish Interest later stressed that its stance on foreign workers remained unchanged.
It said the brochure only contained several conditions which would make it possible in future for highly educated foreign workers to temporarily stay in Belgium.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news