Flemish parties quit Brussels language talks
27 January 2005
BRUSSELS – A coalition of Flemish political parties which had united against the French speaking politicians in a bitter spat over the linguistic future of a Brussels suburb has broken down.
Newspapers reported on Thursday that the fall-out came after a controversial debate on making the bi-lingual commune of Brussels-Hal-Vilvorde a part of Flanders was adjourned until 23 February.
The debate should have taken place on Wednesday.
The Flemish Social Democratic Party (SPA) and the Flemish Liberals (VLD) finally agreed with the francophone parties to let a working group composed of Flemish and French representatives attempt to thrash out a solution to the row.
The group will meet every Wednesday from next week in the run-up to the parliamentary debate.
But the decision to delay the talks made the Flemish Christian Democrats (CD&V) and the conservative New Flemish Alliance (NV-A) see red.
They accused the SPA and VLD of betrayal and announced they would boycott the working group.
“The CD&V and the NV-A have always been loyal to the case of Brussels-Hal-Vilvorde,” said NV-A president Bart De Wever, accusing the other parties of failing to keep their word.
Although all Flemish parties want to see BHV become Flemish, the SPA and VLD seem to have finally decided not to force the government into a constitutional crisis.
The francophone parties had said they would walk out of the parliamentary debate if the Flemish parties forced it through on Wednesday.
BHV has more Flemish speakers than French speakers, although because of the large foreign population in the commune, Flemish Belgians are still in a minority.
The working group will look at solutions such as giving compensation to Brussels for handing the commune to Flanders.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news