Flemish PM wants to recruit Wallonians

9th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

9 September 2005, BRUSSELS — Flemish Prime Minister Yves Leterme has said Flemish companies should recruit jobless Wallonians to combat the nation's unemployment and labour supply problems.

9 September 2005

BRUSSELS — Flemish Prime Minister Yves Leterme has said Flemish companies should recruit jobless Wallonians to combat the nation's unemployment and labour supply problems.

Speaking to Francophone newspapers 'Le Soir' and 'La Libre' on Friday, the Flemish leader lamented the fact that labourers from France come and work in Flemish factories, but that jobless Wallonians don't.

"Flanders has a shortage of workers; Wallonian numbers 20 percent unemployed. These French-speaking workers are not being recruited," Leterme said.

He also said current economic conditions are "difficult" and that the nation was "poorly prepared. Leterme urged everyone to accept their responsibilities, especially the unemployed in Wallonia.

He also said studies must be conducted to determine whether social security is still justified, news agency Belga reported.

"I think that in a modern economy, you may expect people to move 20 or 30km. We build our future with the necessary courage," Leterme said.

He rejected giving the linguistic communities authority over pensions or healthcare, but said he was prepared to do that for unemployment.

Giving the linguistic communities authority over employment will allow them to conduct different regional-focused policies.

Currently, Wallonia's economy is stagnating behind Flanders, but any talk of state reform giving the regional government's more authority is a sensitive issue.

Nevertheless, official state reform talks will be staged around the federal election in 2007.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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