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Community, institutional and health measures: tensions are everywhere in the Belgian political world.

Community, institutional and health measures: tensions are everywhere in the Belgian political world.

From our correspondent, Max Helleff (Brussels) – Here is an interview that will not go unnoticed. At Evening, Walloon Minister-President Elio Di Rupo said he recognized “that our institutional architecture is very complicated. Belgium has four linguistic regions, including bilingual Brussels, would have the merit of simplicity. ”

For the moment, Belgium is made up of three regions: Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia. There are also three communities: Flemish, French-speaking (Brussels and Wallonia) and German-speaking.

In recent weeks, the community peace that the country has known since the start of the health crisis has been somewhat shaken by an exit from the Minister of the Interior, Institutional Reforms and Democratic Renewal Annelies Verlinden. The Flemish Christian Democrat proposes once again to put the institutional structure of the state in flattening out.

To hear it, Belgium would remain federal, but would in the future be made up of two federated entities (Flanders and Wallonia) and two sub-entities (Brussels and the German-speaking part “Ostbelgien”). The people of Brussels and the German speakers would be in a way downgraded, contrary to their ambitions.

Rising tensions

Walloon socialist Elio Di Rupo sends the ball back to Flanders: “Indeed, Brussels-Capital is not a sub-region, as some people sometimes recommend. If Belgium were to become a federal country with four largely autonomous regions, there would be four regions on an equal footing. The German-speaking area has fewer inhabitants than Mons – the city of the Walloon leader – but it cannot be ignored either. ”

As early as mid-February, the cabinet of German-speaking Minister-President Olivier Paasch reacted to Annelies Verlinden’s statement, believing that a model in which his community would be a ‘sub-entity’ is not an acceptable option. For Oliver Paasch, “the German-speaking community could only recognize itself in a state structure in which it would be considered a partner enjoying the same rights and competences as the other federated entities”.

Since then, the tension has increased. We have thus seen the Brussels Minister-President Rudy Vervoort take badly the fact of having passed after the Minister-President of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (the former French Community) Pierre-Yves Jeholet during a consultation committee, this meeting where the different levels of power agree on anti-covid measures. Then, the German-speaking Olivier Paasch announced that he would align himself like Wallonia on the federal level for the curfew. This is now set from midnight to 5 a.m. everywhere in the country … except in Brussels where it remains from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

What may appear to be a sandbox game is symptomatic of the complexity of Belgian institutions and the consequences it has on society. “The curfew enshrines Belgian institutional diversity”, analyzes the public channel RTBF while judging “curious to note that those who today question this curfew have not had the same moods when they imposed or supported it. “

The measure is nonetheless debated in Parliament where, after the Flemish nationalist N-VA, it was the Communist PTB which announced the tabling of a bill aimed at removing the curfew. But also in Brussels where Minister-President Vervoort had to explain himself to the mayors on Wednesday evening, some of them no longer supporting having to put out the lanterns at 10 p.m.


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