Vlaams Belang: "The tabasco peppers of Flemish politics"

Flandersnews is gearing up for the regional, national and European elections of 25 May. We are offering you a resume of the priorities the 8 Flemish parties taking part in the elections. Today: far-right Vlaams Belang. Next on the list will be the socialists next Monday.

In his 1-minute address online video address, Vlaams Belang party head Gerolf Annemans (photos) highlights individual freedom: "On 25 May, you can vote for freedom, for yourself, your children and grandchildren."

Annemans next moves on to the regional issue and immigration: "If you approve the fact that Wallonia grabs our Flemish riches, you should vote for other parties. If you find it okay that Europe continues the instream of immigrants, then you should give your vote to Europhile parties."

"We want to do what the brave Swiss people have done, and put a limit on our hospitality. If you approve that your decisions are made elsewhere, you should vote for Belgicist, Europhile or confederalist parties. We want to give the power back to the people, we want a free Flanders with free European citizens, who manage their own future, their own borders and their own cash. That's what it's about."

"We are a strong party, we are the tabasco peppers of Flemish politics, but we are consistent, honest and clear. We are your stick behind the door on 25 May."

"Commemorate migration as a disaster"

Vlaams Belang traditionally focuses on anti-immigration policies and unconditional Flemish independence. They demand a complete immigration stop. During their election congress on 23 March, they said the government should not be celebrating the 50th anniversary of migration, but rather "commemorate it as a disaster."

Vlaams Belang figurehead Filip Dewinter (photo) was hoping to welcome the Dutch populist Geert Wilders at the congress, but Wilders cancelled after the commotion triggered by his "fewer Moroccans" chants. Dewinter had hoped Wilders could have repeated his call to have fewer Moroccans, but Wilders changed his mind for safety reasons after receiving threats.

Apart from immigration, an independent Flanders is the second bee in Vlaams Belang's bonnet. Vlaams Belang wants an independent Flanders, and not even a confederation. In his address, Annemans made a subtle reference to the N-VA, who are prepared to accept confederalism to tempt more moderate voters. Vlaams Belang wants no compromise on this, although it is not clear what a realistic solution for Brussels could be.

Where the economy is concerned, they demand a 25 percent drop in taxes that both employers and employees are paying on the salary. The funds necessary to do this, can be generated by introducing a complete immigration stop.

Vlaams Belang has never been part of a ruling coalition. The "cordon sanitaire" as it is called, means that the traditional democratic parties agreed they would never form a coalition together with Vlaams Belang.

Reports to follow next week:

  • Monday: SP.A
  • Tuesday: Open VLD
  • Wednesday: CD&V
  • Friday: N-VA