Flemish Socialist calls for greater autonomy
11 July 2005, BRUSSELS — Flanders can only remain a top prosperous region in a globalised world if it develops within a Europe with vision, unity and strength, the Flemish Parliament speaker said on Monday.
11 July 2005
BRUSSELS — Flanders can only remain a top prosperous region in a globalised world if it develops within a Europe with vision, unity and strength, the Flemish Parliament speaker said on Monday.
In his Flemish Community Holiday address at the Brussels city hall, Norbert de Batselier also called for greater authority and financial autonomy for Flanders within a European context.
Flanders is now a prosperous region, but remains on the lower rungs of the top echelon in terms of employment, education, high-tech ventures and research, De Batselier said.
The Socialist (SP.A) politician said social reform was urgently necessary, but the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium could not do it alone, newspaper 'De Tijd' reported.
"If we assume that Flanders can stand by itself, as an island that must develop and follow its own dynamism, then Flanders will not be able to remain standing in a globalised context," he said.
"Only if the European project leads to a Europe with vision, unity and strength can we play a part in the multipolar world."
De Batselier also warned against "traditional nationalism" and "protectionism", ideas that have emerged in the latest European Union crisis. "Europe is economically and socially the only meaningful future perspective for our population".
To play a role within Europe, De Batselier said Flanders needed to gain greater powers and financial autonomy in the areas of employment, academic research and financial and economic incentives.
"It will also give the European project a more recognisable face for our population."
And like Flemish Prime Minister Yves Leterme (Christian Democrat CD&V), De Batselier also urged Flanders and Walloon to improve their co-operative efforts.
He said the two regions have an interest in the economic success of each other: "We must continue working on our society within a healthy federal state structure with very clear agreements," he said.
The continual emphasis on difference is what divides the nation, De Batselier said, and is madness when seen in the light of efforts to unify Europe.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news