What was written in the stars happened yesterday: Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès (MR) does not adhere to the six-month reign that she had imposed on herself. The Vivaldi chairmen agreed that the current government will be granted a two-week extension. She prefers not to come to the House to have to undergo a vote of confidence there. At the same time, there is now also a hard deadline for a formateur and future prime minister: he must be elected no later than 21 September. In the meantime, a poll by iVOX is circulating, which completely defies the position of CD&V. The party denies that they have anything to do with it.
In the news: Today Conner Rousseau (Vooruit) and Egbert Lachaert (Open Vld), the two preformers, call the Palace.
The details: With this, a further extension of the assignment of the preformers will soon be sealed, and the route will be further delineated.
- A video meeting of the Vivaldi presidents yesterday afternoon, mainly arranged the further proceedings of the trial for the Vivaldi parties to forge into one government.
- In addition, one roadmap plotted, which nevertheless indicates that the Seven are now at cruising speed to form a government:
- The duo of Rousseau and Lachaert continues to move, and will soon receive an extension from the king until 21 September. It is assumed that the Open Vld chairman will therefore remain fit enough to continue to lead the work in the coming days.
- The intention is that between September 18, when the presidents will end their quarantine, and September 21 on Monday, a definitive name of a formateur comes out: next weekend it must therefore become clear, at a physical meeting, who will now lead the Vivaldi coalition. “Something like that really does not go through Zoom”, you can hear.
- Then the Wilmès II government could continue until October 1, with the Vivaldi parties in the Chamber submit a motion to facilitate that process.
- That Thursday would be right then the new prime minister to present his coalition agreement to the House.
- On October 3, 48 hours later, the new government could gain confidence in the House.
- Immediately, the process must therefore also remain at cruising speed: there will be a second, digital reading of the negotiating text. So the presidents will continue to negotiate among themselves, going through every passage. There will also be three separate working groups to tranch a lot of other things. They also all only come together digitally.
- This is how this preformation period becomes de facto a real government negotiation. That is striking: because that way only the chairmen remain at the table. Normally it is the custom for each party to send at least two negotiators to sign the coalition agreement. In this way, however, the chairpersons keep control tight to themselves.
The essence: Vivaldi will soon have to come to life in the Chamber early.
- “Besides, I will in six months at the latest to ask for the confidence of parliament again ”, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès (MR) stated in black and white in the House on 17 March.
- “I will not return to my commitment. I am not going to abuse the trust that has been placed in me. Such a given word is important to me. But the political situation will matter at that point. If it is clear that you will not receive the trust, should you ask? Then you have to take your responsibility and submit your resignation ”, she stated very clearly, recently in De Standaard.
- But what every lawyer had already noticed in March: asking for that trust only had to be on paper, it was a “promise”, nothing more. Constitutionally, this government can decide itself to continue until 2024, unless the House forces it to resign with a vote of no confidence.
- The Vivaldi parties are now somewhat forcing the prime minister to break that promise. The new coalition now wants to avoid a lot of haggling: they just want to postpone the vote for two weeks, and so do not come back to the matter until October 1 (in the hope that there will be a new government).
- Vlaams Belang and N-VA are getting ready for a fierce showdown in the Chamber on Thursday 17 September. It is evident that both parties to remind the prime minister of her word, and want to force a vote.
- So the prime minister wipes her feet on the promise she herself made in parliament on 17 March. What disdain. She can complete the farce and ask for the confidence of Wilmès III for two weeks. It’s getting more and more surreal. So more and more Belgian ”, tweeted Peter De Roover, the N-VA fraction leader.
- “Democracy is a joke in Belgium and at the next election, everyone wonders why citizens are dropping out ”, Vlaams Belang chairman Tom Van Greeks also reacted fiercely.
- Immediately next Thursday will more than likely be the first real clash in the House, between what will become “majority” and “opposition”. An interesting showdown, in which Vivaldi will have to come to life, and CD&V, Open Vld, Groen and Vooruit will have to stand shoulder to shoulder, diametrically opposed to Vlaams Belang and N-VA.
Interesting to follow: A poll on CD&V of iVOX is currently underway.
- One yes very striking online poll, from the iVOX agency, is currently running in Flanders. The questions reached our editorial staff through a favorable wind. Almost all of these revolve around the position of CD&V.
- After a common question about who was voted on on May 26, questions include the following, with answers ranging from “totally disagree” to “completely agree”:
- Must CD&V more conservative turn into?
- Tries CD&V protecting the N-VA too much?
- The following statements are presented:
- CD&V must sharper, smarter and clearer come out of the corner.
- In retrospect, the N-VA should never have left the federal government for the fight over the Marrakesh pact.
- Joachim Coens is doing well as chairman.
- CD&V would be more back to Christian values must defend.
- I trust CD&V an important role to play.
- In addition, they are asked whether they would consider voting ‘more or less’ for CD&V if:
- CD&V more often it expert advice follows.
- CD&V more attention to ecology would spend.
- If CD&V joins a federal government with N-VA, socialists and liberals.
- If there is one other chairman then Joachim Coens would join CD&V.
- Finally, it is asked whether the relaxation of the abortion law is a good thing or not, and whether increasing the term of abortion from 12 to 18 weeks positive or not.
- At 89 rue de la Loi, the CD&V headquarters, it is denied in all languages that such a poll was commissioned by the party. “No, we don’t know about anything“Can be heard loudly.
- Which is surprising, because these are the kind of questions that can almost only come from the CD&V corner. There, the internal division about whether or not to participate in Vivaldi remains large: some data about how the rest of Flanders and potential voters view the matter can then help determine a course. The question is of course whether the results will ever see the light of day.
Spotted on Facebook: CD&V responds to Vlaams Belang.
- For days now, Vlaams Belang has been bombarding the broad-based representatives of CD&V: the 113 orange mayors each get custom attacks on Facebook, to put Vivaldi under pressure anyway.
- CD&V responded on Facebook with the following message: “Vlaams Belang criticizes us and aggressively targets our local representatives on social media. This is because we are conducting a dialogue in order to arrive at a federal government that wants solutions and wants to work towards a prosperous, healthy and sustainable Flanders. We have then just made an overview of all the realizations of the Vlaams Belang for Flanders ”, after which an empty white space followed.
- But at the party you can hear that they “consider legal action”Against the action of the Vlaams Belang. It targets each of the 113 mayors with their own photo. “We are looking into the matter. This does not just happen ”, sounds at the highest level.
Still good to note: One chairman draws all the attention across the language border.
- Rarely seen, RTBF star François de Brigode, who thundered his political talk show on Thursday, Jeudi and prime, opened with a message to the viewer. That had to be a striking broadcast, because while all other chairmen are in quarantine, MR chairman Bouchez would simply come to the studio.
- “Good evening, a first today, never happened. A chairman of a political party, who cancels two hours before the broadcast. Georges-Louis Bouchez, the chairman of the MR, would come to our broadcast today, and answer questions at Jeudi and prime. His arrival had been confirmed to us several times. And then, at 5:45 PM, he informed us that he was not coming. Yesterday he informed our antenna that he would not comply with the quarantine rules, which of course raises the necessary questions. We would have liked to clarify his position with him, live tonight. He justifies his absence by invoking negotiations. ”
- So a very bright outage, which has everything to do with Bouchez’s stance on the corona outbreak within federal negotiations. After Lachaert preformer tested positive, all chairpersons had themselves tested in the Chamber. Only Bouchez refused and preferred his doctor. The results of the doctor in the Chamber are thus an outside party, who less than 24 hours later declared all chairmen “negative”. Bouchez was declared “negative” through his own GP.
- But then Bouchez also announced both internally with the Vivaldi chairmen and outside that he “did not go into quarantineBecause he “had not exhibited any high-risk behavior.” He labeled himself a “low-risk patient” because he had “never been more than 15 minutes and less than five feet from Egbert Lachaert”.
- While in Flanders the first messages from the group of Vivaldi chairmen, from Conner Rousseau (Vooruit), who tested negative and “wanted to continue working”, Got tough opposition from well-known virologists like Steven Van Gucht, and then all went into quarantine for nine days, Bouchez’s behavior passed on the French-speaking side.
- But in the corridors there is indeed a lot of criticism of the choice of Bouchez. Because party member and Prime Minister Wilmès is doing everything he can to ensure that the population correctly follows the measures, and at the same time her chairman sets such an example? Several sources point out that one on the Sixteen not amused used to be.
- Moreover, there are big questions to ask Bouchez’s claim that he is a “low-risk patient” himself.
- On Friday he was in the same car, together with the infected preformer Lachaert, in a move for negotiations. That is inevitably a contact at less than 1.5 meters. Two others involved in the negotiations confirm that car ride, in which the chairman of MR shared the car with the Open Vld chairman: none of the politicians involved wants to tell untruths about this.
- Moreover, they then joined a meeting of more than 2 hours, where the distance was less than 1.5 meters according to several involved. “Bouchez was sitting next to Lachaert”, eyewitnesses say.
- Moreover, there was also a bilateral contact between Friday and Tuesday, the day on which Lachaert tested positive.
- The reactions from the fellow chairmen of Vivaldi are unison: “Incomprehensible that he does this“. And also: “It is everyone’s own decision, but this is not wise”.
- Striking: on Twitter, Bouchez reacted fiercely yesterday, as always, and did not slow down. He spoke directly to the spokesman for the crisis center, Yves Coppieters. “You know the rules better than many of us. Can you confirm that if we have not been closer than five feet together, more than 15 minutes, with an infected person, why then we should go into quarantine?“
- In addition, journalists from RTBF, Le Soir and VRT were accused on Twitter “to want to create a polemic“. He repeated his explanation of why he did not go to the RTBF studios: “Because of the leaks about the extension of Sophie Wilmès. I have no comments to comment on unfortunate leaks. ”
The hard numbers: The budget outlines for Vivaldi are clear. And therefore also gruesome.
- The Planning Bureau came up with an estimate of the figures in the budget. That would just slightly more than 10 percent shortage coming out of the GNP in 2020, a huge crater.
- Budgetary policy does not promise anything good for 2021 either, that seems like a lost year now, everyone assumes. But the question is therefore where it should go at the end of the legislature, in 2024, and even further, in 2030. Any budget discussion is more about that.
- Lachaert works with a table, but for the time being it continues to yield a number of great unknowns, both in terms of income and expenditure. The intention would be to use budgetary discipline by 2022, and by 2024, the end of the legislature, to a deficit of 3 percent, again just within EU standards. At least that was what Lachaert proposed. But that should be a saving of 12 billion euros, at cruising speed. So gigantic.
- These EU directives have been temporarily lifted, due to the corona crisis, but sooner or later the eurozone must return to manageable deficits. Working towards that 3 percent will already be a hell of a job. Alternative scenarios are now also circulating, where the savings are much less. The expectation is that people will not start with a rigid framework, and that they will continue to evaluate the case “on the way”. So don’t expect any major statements about budget discipline from Vivaldi.
- Corona also provides a little bit of good news financially. Namely a bag of European money, which is coming to Belgium thanks to the European rescue plan: 4.8 billion euros, pure European subsidies, are ready for Belgium. This includes 1.6 billion euros that was already included in the Green Deal. These funds must be used, and the Belgian government must present a plan by mid-October: it fits in perfectly.
- Incidentally, there is still European money coming the Belgian direction in the coming years: one Brexit fund of 5 billion that the most affected Member States and sectors could be very useful if it turns into a hard Brexit. In addition, there are the 200 million euros for the transition regions per year (mainly to Wallonia), on top of the 2.4 billion from the cohesion fund. Just to say: there is some “investment money” to hand out.
In the meantime canceled: The company outing of the Flemish government, no longer that jolly gang, has been canceled.
- “A hedonistic and contemporary wine farm in harmony with the local traditions and environment ”, with“ 15,000 vines with a total of nine varieties, of which Chardonnay, Pinot Auxerrois, Pinot Noir and Gamay are the main varieties ”. Jan Jambon (N-VA), the Flemish Prime Minister, was to convene his troops this year at the Valke Vleug farm in rural Liezele.
- Every year, on the eve of the traditional September Declaration, when the Prime Minister comes to the Flemish Parliament for his policy statement of that year, it is after all, the custom for the Flemish government to go out on an outing, to gather their heads after a holiday, and to tune the violins. They prefer to do this in a nice location. So it had to be Wijndomein Valke Vleugel, but the case has been canceled, De Tijd knows.
- Not entirely illogical: at N-VA they have I don’t feel like hanging out with the rest of the Flemish team. Coalition partners CD&V, but especially Open Vld, are after all federally working to form a government without N-VA. A figure like Bart Somers (Open Vld), a herald of the purple-green collaboration, now has to look in the eyes between the vines: it is too much of a good thing for N-VA.
- That of course does not solve the larger problem surrounding the Flemish government: how can this coalition continue in an orderly manner? The government program is full of intentions that must also be followed up on a federal level, including on the employment rate, and thus the entire labor market policy. But dark clouds are also looming, because matters such as the federal Climate Plan or plans to give employees an education budget must all be discussed with the federal states. Not to mention healthcare, where there is a permanent tension between the Flemish and federal levels, which came to the fore sharply in the corona crisis.
- While in the plans of purple-yellow one firm chunk of the labor market and health care would de facto be regionalized, this is no longer the case under Vivaldi. But how to proceed with the Flemish government?
- In any case, it will the N-VA should look for a new profile. A council of ministers, which should replace the outing, can already provide some clarity. Because the Flemish government wants to announce its own recovery plan. The question is whether that will make a big impression. And whether that is enough to give a powerful answer to what is to happen federally with Vivaldi.
- In any case, the timing will be special: the statement will be issued on Monday, September 28, with debates in the following days. And on Thursday October 1, Vivaldi already wants the federal government statement.
- Incidentally, state a lot at stake for Jambon personally. The man from Brasschaat experienced an absolute rotten summer: his honeymoon was greatly disrupted by the entire Chovanec affair, where he got himself into serious trouble by imprudent statements. But at the same time, its Flemish government, which was to become the crowning glory of a career, is under enormous pressure from what is happening on a federal level.
Hard on soft: The EU versus the British.
- Brexit, meanwhile, threatens at a rapid pace to have a particularly sour end. Because London and Brussels are completely on a collision course over the decision by the British government of Boris Johnson to unilaterally cancel some of the agreements already made on Brexit.
- Everything revolves around the “hard” or “soft” border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. Johnson previously agreed to keep that border open, a crucial element in the peace process in that region. But now his government has decided to introduce legislation that simply inflates that deal. This leads to particularly angry reactions, in Ireland, in the European Union, but also from our own former prime ministers Theresa May and John Major: “What is the word of the UK still worth internationally if we do not stick to agreements?” the latter suggested.
- But the British government persists: Minister Michael Gove announced no longer wanting to fold or repeal the legislation. This is now leading to a threatening attitude from the European Commission. They demand that London correct the case by the end of September.
- Quite the affair revealing about the atmosphere surrounding the Brexit negotiations. They remain in the doldrums because the British do not want to accept that they have to submit to the rules of the EU if they want to have access to the single market. Those talks are in their eighth round, without success. The matter should be settled by the end of this year. In the meantime, it has been heard that the EU will not simply withdraw and “fall into the UK’s trap” to walk away angrily from the table.
- The whole game can be very expensive for Johnson. Or rather the UK economy and UK jobs. Because a hard Brexit would have a particularly strong impact on UK exports. But the British Prime Minister is apparently willing to take that risk.