"Dump proposals in the trash can"

The OVV, the umbrella of Flemish-minded organisations, is challenging the work of Royal Mediator Johan Vande Lanotte. In an article on its website the guardian of the Flemish Emancipation Movement argues that the latest state reform proposals should be dumped in the trash can.

For many weeks now Royal Negotiator Johan Vande Lanotte (Flemish socialist) has been busy brokering an agreement on state reforms. This is seen as a prerequisite to any government formation talks.

In an article on its website entitled "Detrimental for Flanders" the OVV provides a thorough analysis of the Royal Mediator's proposals. It concludes that Francophone politicians are only offering the Flemish a fraction of what they have been demanding since the last century.

The umbrella of Flemish-minded organisations says that the proposals of Francophone negotiators offer little to Belgium's communities: "Real autonomy for the regions and communities is not provided. There is a further fragmentation of government powers and taxes will probably go up. This is exactly the opposite of what Flemish voters have been asking."

The OVV suggests a complete fresh start to the negotiations. It favours transferring as many as possible of the social economic levers to the federated states: transferring powers over child allowance and health care to the communities and employment policy and mobility to the regions is only meaningful, if powers are transferred fully and if a proportionate tax autonomy is also granted. Extra cash for Brussels is possible, if every extra euro has to meet the same criteria as those demanded for all other public expenditure."

The OVV supports the approach of the two parties involved in the talks that are traditionally most Flemish-minded: "The Flemish nationalists and Christian democrats are doing a good job and must persevere."

The article notes that an honest agreement remains a possibility: "Flemish negotiators have repeatedly shown their good will by making proposals that in time will benefit both Flemings and Francophones. On no occasion did these proposals conflict with democracy and good governance. Francophones should now show their good will."

The article concludes by urging the Flemish socialists and ecologists to defend "the legitimate demands of the Flemish electorate".