“Flanders is ready for independence”

The Flemish Nationalist federal MP Theo Francken has said in an interview in Saturday’s edition of the daily ‘De Standaard' that Flanders is ready to become independent. Mr Francken went on to say that it is a source of irritation to him that no Flemish daily newspaper openly supports the idea of Flemish independence.

However, Mr Francken also re-iterates the party line that the choice to be put before voters at next year’s elections will be between the status quo and a confederal structure.

The MP and Mayor of the Flemish Brabant municipality of Lubbeek believes that confederalism should be a stepping stone towards the ultimate aim of Flemish independence.

"It is my belief that that day will come. Flanders will join an evolution in which countries such as Scotland and Catalonia go their own way. Next year’s elections will be important.”

The nationalist politician says that he is surprised that not one Flemish newspaper openly supports the idea of Flemish independence.

"Around one in two Flemings votes for confederalism, but you don’t follow. Come on embrace the future. This is a popular democratic movement.”

"I am for the secession of Flanders. I am for an independent republic. I always have been and I always will be. Flanders is ready for independence.As regards logistics, organisation and administration we could stand on our own two feet. However, I don’t know if the Fleming is ready for independence and that is the fundamental question.”

"Perceived as a hardliner because of how I look"

Mr Francken also used the interview to deny claims that he is a hardliner when it comes to immigration. “As regards migration policy I’m absolutely not a hard-liner”. He believes that the perception that he is comes as a result of his appearance, especially his very short hair.

"I have never had any affinity with Vlaams Belang. For me a country without migration is a revolting thought. Migration should be something positive, an enrichment. This is currently not the case. I couldn’t be active in a party that would lock up asylum-seekers in secure centres from day one.”

Mr Francken added that the “pure Fleming” doesn’t exist and “I hope that he never will exist."

The nationalist MP believes that a repeat of the long-drawn out impasse that followed the 2010 federal election must be avoided after the elections in 2014. When asked about what he thought his party leader Bart De Wever’s plans were after next year’s elections, Mr Francken replied “Bart remains the most successful party leader since World War II. You can’t just put someone like that out to grass”.