Expatica news

Christian Democrats ‘pandering’ to extremism

31 January 2005

BRUSSELS – One of Belgium’s vice prime ministers has claimed that a mainstream Flemish political party is starting to copy extremists in Flanders.

Finance Minister Didier Reynders, appearing on the RTBF programme Mise au point on Sunday, said the Flemish Christian Democrats (CD&V) were following the nationalist New Flemish Alliance (NV-A), as well as the extreme right-wing party Vlaams Belang.

“What’s happening in Flanders is a pollution by the separatists from NV-A, and beyond that from the Vlaams Belang,” he argued.

Vlaams Belang is the new face of Vlaams Blok, a party branded racist last year by the Belgian courts.

In the past, Belgium’s political parties kept a pact not to form coalitions with the Blok, but since the party is the most popular in Flanders, some mainstream politicians have started thinking about collaborating with it or incorporating its policies into their programmes.

Reynders, the president of the francophone centre-right party Mouvement Reformateur (MR), criticised the decision of CD&V not to vote for the law to remove public funding from extremist parties.

He also criticised it for refusing to join in the working group discussing the linguistic future of the Brussels suburb Brussels-Hal-Vilvorde.

“If we want to live harmoniously, we have to solve conflicts,” he said, adding that the working group was the test of whether francophone and Flemish Belgians still want to live together.

Reynders said if it became clear that Belgium’s linguistic communities did not want to live together, the francophones would need to think about how they want to be governed.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news