Stop squabbling PM tells parties
12 October 2004
BRUSSELS – Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has issued an exasperated plea to his country’s French and Dutch speaking political parties to stop squabbling.
He made the call during his annual set piece speech to the Belgian parliament on Tuesday in which he also outlined his government’s budget plans.
Tension between Belgium’s French speaking Walloons and Dutch speaking Flems is always bubbling under the surface here.
But things have become particularly heated recently.
One of the biggest bones of contention is the Brussels suburb of Brussels-Hal-Vilvoorde (BHV).
BHV is currently a bi-lingual commune but the Flemish want it to become Dutch speaking only.
They say this make sense as there are more Flems than Walloons living there.
But the Walloons counter that if you add members of their community with BHV’s large expat population, most of whom speak French, then the Flems are in the minority.
On Tuesday Verhofstadt said that constant arguing over BHV would lead nowhere.
The “only viable option” he said, was to “find a compromise through responsible dialogue.”
“It is impossible to approve any proposal if it clearly goes against the will of one of the two major linguistic communities of our country,” he added.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news