Nationalist leader puts confederalism on the back-burner

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The leader of the Flemish nationalist party Bart De Wever has said in a newspaper interview that that his party won’t campaign on confederalism in the run-up to the next federal and regional elections in 2019.

Mr De Wever’s interview appears in Monday’s edition of the daily ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ and comes two days after he was re-elected to serve a 5th term as the leader of the Flemish nationalist party N-VA.

Confederalism is a system where almost all powers are devolved to the regions. The N-VA favours a form of confederalism with two partners: Flanders and Wallonia.

These two entities would share responsibility for bi-lingual Greater Brussels with those resident there being able to choose whether they wanted their social, education, health care, welfare and other services provided by Flanders or Wallonia.

Although this remains Mr De Wever’s party’s desired aim, such a reform would require a two-thirds majority in the Federal Parliament. None of N-VA Federal Government partners are in favour of a fresh round of state reforms.

The opposition too, with the exception of the far-right Vlaams Belang that is in favour of Flemish UDI, and a couple of former N-VA MPs that left the party favours the status quo.

This means that any proposal to introduce confederalism would fail to gain the two-thirds majority and a majority in each language group that such a far-reaching reform of the structure of the Belgian state would require.

"What is stopping N-VA from promoting Flemish independence?”

Mr De Wever’s stance has come under attack from the far-right Vlaams Belang and the former N-VA MPs Hendrik Vuye and Veerle Wouters. The Flemish movement too is uneasy about Mr De Wever’s words.

Speaking on VRT radio, the Chairman of the Flemish People’s Movement Bart De Valck called for clarity on N-VA’s long term vision on Flemish independence. Mr De Valck went on to cite Catalonia as example of where a popular movement has worked together with political parties to promote independence.

"What is stopping N-VA from promoting Flemish independence?”

 

Flandersnews.be / Expatica

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