How the solar panels threaten to become the “Arco file” of Open Vld: N-VA and CD&V are “not amused”

“A shit file for politics”, is how the debacle surrounding the solar panels is called by one of the top players. But the way in which Open Vld handles the file is astonishing. Yesterday, Open Vld chairman Egbert Lachaert publicly announced that he wants “additional support” for the owners of those solar panels. But that causes bad blood, because there is no agreement on this at all. “It is Open Vld who created this situation, with Bart Tommelein who just chased people towards solar panels with empty promises. And now they are going to profile themselves again? ”, Can be heard at CD&V. “If people like to create their own Arco file at Open Vld, then they are doing well”, the Flemish coalition says.

In the news: Egbert Lachaert (Open Vld) is engaged in a media offensive.

The details: His statements about the solar panels put the Flemish government in turmoil.

  • The solar panel file is completely back. This week, Pano, the VRT’s research program, broadcasted the file. In doing so more than 100,000 families that have solar panels.
  • Everything revolves around the payment for electricity from reverse counters. Open Vld promised in the previous Flemish government that this mechanism would exist for at least 15 years, then ministers Bart Tommelein (Open Vld) and his successor Lydia Peeters (Open Vld) profiled themselves on the file. They pushed there at the end of the previous legislature, through the regulation for the counters, while numerous traffic lights about the legal stability of that scheme were red. The Constitutional Court overturned the decree in question.
  • Nobody in the government, Flemish and federal, got off the broadcast well. In particular, Marie-Christine Marghem (MR), the federal energy minister, once again appears not to have mastered the file. However, she was instructed by her government to work out an alternative arrangement, but did not stick out a leg: the latter was more or less the only constant in her policy in the Michel government.
  • In the Flemish Parliament, the current majority, which is the same as the previous one, has already been hit hard in the file. The opposition reiterated them warned of the uncertain legal situation, the concerned minister today, Zuhal Demir (N-VA), who inherited the file, took a “humble” attitude and, above all, promised a solution.
  • It was striking that at that time Open Vld with fraction leader Willem-Frederik Schiltz also made attempts to to continue to defend the file in the Parliamentary debate. That earned him countless attacks from the opposition.
  • In the end, Demir came up with a proposal within the Flemish government: 1,200 euros in support for all those families who saw their income from solar panels evaporate. Coalition partners CD&V and Open Vld approved this.
  • But look, yesterday Open Vld chairman Egbert Lachaert suddenly threw a bomb in the file. At Villa Politica he stated:
    • “I think that the support mechanism that has existed so far, not enough.”
    • “We’re going one find additional compensation mechanism, for example for people who have heat pumps in addition to their solar panels. ”

The effect: Especially angry coalition partners. Who are not inclined to give Open Vld much more in the file.

  • Lachaert’s unilateral announcement immediately went wrong with the minister involved. “Mister Lachaert would communicate better through his ministers in the government instead of doing a Marghempje. The worst answer to broken empty promises is new empty promises. I practice politics in a different way ”, Flemish minister Demir tweeted in response.
  • “Incomprehensible. Demir has been cleaning up the mess of the liberal family for weeks. It is Tommelein’s arrangement, then the federal government (where Alexander De Croo was deputy prime minister) goes with a liberal minister of the MR to the Constitutional Court. Allow me to say that we do not know of any party that is as shameless as Open Vld at the moment ”, according to the government benches at N-VA.
  • “It is astonishing that Lachaert finds it necessary to refocus on that dossier with such announcements. If they want to make it their own Arco file, be our guest. Because they will no longer find much support ”, you can hear in the corridors of the Flemish coalition.
  • The annoyance is at both N-VA and CD&V. “The current Flemish government has inherited this file from them. So that you are going to do profiling on that, that is really not clean. This is a real shit file for politics. You really only have to communicate about that if you have a solution ”, is the feeling at the top of CD&V.
  • It is also immediately clear that a further aid scheme is not immediately on the agenda. The file has already been submitted to the Flemish government by Bart Somers, the Vice-Minister-President of Open Vld. But the door seems completely closed now after the statements of Lachaert.
  • He still responds, in De Tijd: “I had understood that Demir would investigate further support for people with a heat pump. I am quite indignant that she is now just closing the door on that. ” And the Open Vld chairman also wants more than just his (former) ministers Peeters and Tommelein to be blamed. “I think that the political collective has gone wrong. One should not look at one or two people ”.

Today: All spotlight on the Consultation Committee.

  • Or almost all spotlights. Because in the run-up to that Consultation Committee, quite a few party chairmen of Vivaldi felt it necessary to have their say. Just about everyone gave interviews, even this morning Both Egbert Lachaert (Open Vld) and Georges-Louis Bouchez (MR) were present on the morning radio to make their final statements. For example, Bouchez again argued on RTL for expanding the bubble to more than one cuddle contact: “Most Belgians live as a couple, so that would only be logical”.
  • Incidentally, it is already clear where it will approximately land, after the many leaks: bubbles outside will go from four to eight or ten people, contact professions can open again and just maybe there will be a ‘kot bubble’. And despite great pressure from the EU the travel ban would continue to apply, a fundamental mockery of all European principles on the free movement of persons. Other measures such as curfews will also remain in place.
  • This is exactly what Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open Vld) was always annoyed with under his predecessor, Sophie Wilmès (MR): one big, drawn-out media show in the run-up to such decisions, causing everyone comes with expectations and leaves disappointed. His attempt to break that logic at the beginning of the week with his own press conference, flanked by scientists, failed to remedy that.
  • The fact that his own liberal relatives, Lachaert and Bouchez, will also profile themselves on this, is difficult for the other coalition partners, again this morning: “They should really keep quiet, the liberals. In cities like Ghent Mathias De Clercq (Open Vld) now start to ban music, and that Lachaert has to defend? Allez, congratulations. The same about the curfew: suddenly it says that they want to “fine-tune” it, no longer “abolish it”, according to a party chairman.
  • This refers to the painful passage this morning on Radio 1, where the question was asked “were there any liberals in corona times?”.

The big picture: Liberals are currently biting their teeth.

  • After the fuss about the solar panels and also the whole affair around Sihame El Kaouakibi (Open Vld), it is just lick the wounds at the blue factory. At the top at Open Vld, the hope is that the prime minister can finally come out well after this corona period and show that the team is up and running.
  • However, the signals from the PS, the main coalition partner, are not exactly positive: dossiers such as those relating to pensions and also the pressure about the wage standards law, they want to change make the others noticeably nervous. “After corona, the real test for this coalition will begin, on those socio-economic dossiers,” predicts a éminence grise in the Wetstraat.
  • In that area, Open Vld received important support from CD&V, in the House yesterday. Nathalie Muylle (CD&V), the previous Minister of Work and specialist in the file, made it clear that it must stop sowing confusion about the wage standard law, the so-called “law of 96”. It was adjusted by the Swedish coalition, with CD&V in the team. And just like Open Vld, CD&V does not want the PS or other coalition partners to keep sowing unrest, or to suggest that the law would be amended.
  • That Lachaert wants to be more assertive in the meantime, proves a phone call he made with Frederik Delaplace, the CEO of the VRT. In it he complained about the TV series BDW, a three-part documentary about Bart De Wever (N-VA), which was followed for a year, and which resulted in an hour of television on one three times.
  • At Open Vld they were blue with the series, which “a serious deontological mistakeAccording to the top in Melsensstraat, is the headquarters. “A pure portrait of the man, without contradiction? With all the statements he makes about us? That’s impossible?” According to the top of Open Vld, the CEO would have acknowledged “that it is not worth repeating”.
  • “The CEO of the VRT conducts many telephone calls every day and we cannot be expected to communicate about this“, Soothes the spokesman for the public broadcaster. “We remain behind the series because we believe it is important that we gain insight into the life and work of one of the politicians who has dominated our political landscape for years. That is not a political reportage and certainly not an infomercial ”, they say on the Reyerslaan. Which is not to say that there will be such initiatives.
  • At the same time, the series is, according to top players at Open Vld, the ultimate proof about Bart De Wever “that that man simply does not want our party to exist, does not respect us ”. “That was the whole atmosphere this summer, towards us. You can’t work together like that, can you? That is not going to change any time soon, neither on our part, nor on their part. ”


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