"This is not a grey deal, but a colourful one"

The new Flemish Premier Geert Bourgeois had the last say after a heated debate about the policy choices the new government has made. The hemisphere gave the green light to the police statement that was read out on Friday, with a comfortable majority of 89 votes against 29. Flemish lawmakers can now resume their holiday. They are expected back in parliament on 22 September.

Flemish nationalists (N-VA), Christian democrats (CD&V) and socialists (SP.A) enjoy a comfortable majority in the Flemish Assembly. There were no concerns that the vote of confidence could be tight. Eventually, after a long day of debates, the policy accord was approved, with 89 votes in favour and 29 against.

The Flemish socialists have to get used to their role on the opposition benches, after several decades in the ruling coalition. Socialist fraction leader Bart Van Malderen led the opposition, as he was joined by the greens and the far-right Vlaams Belang.

Van Malderen claimed this government is leaving people in the cold as the middle class will feel the austerity measures most. "Welcome to Flanders, the toll region. This government makes you pay for everything, if you want to take the tram, find a good old people's home, send your child to school... Those that have enough cash, are the lucky ones. If you don't, that's just bad luck" - he was referring to the fact that public transport will no longer be free of charge for those that have retired, red.

The ruling coalition parties retorted that cuts are needed to safeguard the future. Matthias Diependaele of the N-VA added "there is no such thing as "free"; everything has a cost, everything has to be paid for by someone eventually." 

Björn Rzoska of the greens said that Bourgeois gave no concrete figures about the new policies. Bourgeois answered that this was simply not possible. Figures will be given during the September Budget Address. The West-Fleming finished by saying this policy deal is not at all grey. "It's actually a very colourful one. We have many options. These are the colours of the future, of confidence, bringing people together and taking steps forward."