Flemish socialist party targets Belgian government
Socialist leader Caroline Gennez attacks PM Leterme's "virtual" administration on the eve of Labour Day.2 May 2008
BELGIUM - Labour Day or May Day is being celebrated across the country. May Day is a red letter day in the calendar of the socialist movement in Belgium.
On the eve of May Day, the leader of the Flemish socialist party Caroline Gennez rounded on the Federal Government. She accused PM Yves Leterme's five party administration of being the most "virtual" or non-existent government for 50 years.
Speaking in Hasselt, Gennez told supporters that the government did not exist. People knew this was the case. Only the Premier had failed to catch on to this.
The Flemish socialists say that prices are rising, spending power is falling. The SP.A leader accused the Federal Government of failing to act and warned that confidence was fast ebbing away.
Gennez insisted that the recent decision by government parties to not allow the Federal Parliament to convene this week to discuss the splitting of the Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde constituency was an all time low.
On the occasion of May Day, the socialist trade union ABVV launched an appeal for higher wages and benefits.
Lower energy bills are also a priority.
The union is backing the idea of a social tax credit for low and medium earners that could be worth EUR 60 a month.
The ABBV is also concerned about the next stage of state reforms. It warns that these are undermining solidarity between people.
Trades union leader Rudi De Leeuw warned that his union would not accept this.
He told supporters that he would never allow what he called "our cathedral", the federal social security system, to be hollowed out.
He added that union and party stood shoulder to shoulder in opposition to the Federal Government - remarkable statement given the fact that the Francophone socialists form part of this administration.
[flandersenews.be / Expatica]