Expatica news

Regions ‘must conduct employment policy’

6 September 2005

BRUSSELS — Federal Budget Minister Johan Vande Lanotte has proposed giving Belgium’s regional governments complete authority over employment policy.

He also said funding for the nation’s employment policies should be divided up regionally, provided that the ‘solidarity principle’ is retained.

Vande Lanotte unveiled his policy statement on Tuesday as part of his candidacy for the post of Socialist SP.A chairman.

He intends to reform the party into an open and progressive political movement, newspaper ‘De Tijd’ reported on Tuesday.

The current deputy prime minister will resign from the federal government mid-October to take over the SP.A reins.

He is the only candidate to replace Steve Stevaert, who was recently appointed governor of Limburg.

The SP.A will decide on 17 October who will replace Vande Lanotte in the federal government.

Meanwhile, Vande Lanotte said Flanders could conduct a better employment policy if the nation’s regional governments were granted authority in that area.

“In Wallonia, the unemployment problem is much larger than in Flanders, therefore it is only normal that Wallonia wages a different employment policy than Flanders,” he said.

He said unemployment benefits, pensions, work permits, paid education leave and apprenticeships should come under supervision of the regional governments.

Any further state reform is a sensitive issue in the Belgian federal state, particularly in Wallonia, which is stagnating economically.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news