Expatica news

Vlaams Blok ‘bad for Flemish business’

28 June 2004

BRUSSELS – The success of the extreme-right Vlaams Blok party in recent regional elections has some Flemish company bosses worried about the party’s effect on the business climate, La Libre Belgique reported on Monday.

Although many of the heads of Flemish businesses contacted by the newspaper refused to talk, those who did expressed concern at the chilling effect the party is expected to have on business in northern Belgium.

“The Vlaams Blok advocates a climate of economic protectionism,” said Peter Vandenborne, a spokesman for Voka, a federation that brings together the VEV Flemish employers’ association and chambers of commerce in northern Belgium.

Vandenborne said he hopes that the Vlaams Blok’s extreme-right, anti-foreigner image will not discourage foreign investors from doing business Flanders.

He added that although the Vlaams Blok is the region’s second most powerful party, the majority of Flemish people do not back its policies.

Not all executives were worried about the success of the Vlaams Blok however.

Luc Betrand, head of Antwerp-based holding company Ackermans & van Haaren, insisted that Flanders has not turned extremist.

He said he sees the results of the recent elections merely as a protest vote and that people only voted for the parties that were not in power.

 [Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject : Belgian news