Senate looks to block money to Vlaams Belang
10 January 2005
BRUSSELS – The Belgian senate is considering a request to cut funding to the far right Flemish party Vlaams Belang.
Senators are debating whether the finances could be stopped under a law that blocks money flowing to racist parties.
The issue has been put back on the agenda by a petition signed by 57,000 Belgian citizens, many of them from Flanders.
The petition began on 21 November when the supreme court confirmed an earlier ruling by a Ghent tribunal that found the Vlaams Blok broke Belgium’s anti-racism laws.
The Blok reacted by almost immediately changing its name to Vlaams Belang.
The signatures were delivered to the senate last Friday and a special committee will now discuss the law’s application in this case.
The law was passed in 1999.
The rise of the Vlaams Belang’s popularity across Flanders has at the same time prompted an outpouring of public protest against it.
Opponents to the party have created a website denouncing the far right movement, which can be found at blokwatch.be.
Vlaams Belang currently qualifies for party funding from the Flemish parliament and has previously fought off all attempts to block the money.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news