A referendum on Flemish independence?

The green MP Kristof Calvo is defying the Flemish nationalists of N-VA, asking them to organise a referendum on the future of Belgium if they dare. "If they want a campaign focusing on the Flemish interests in 2019, they should also have the courage to organise a referendum like in Scotland or Catalonia", Calvo writes in his new book "F*ck de zijlijn".

Kristof Calvo is the leader of the green fraction in the federal parliament. A rising star in Belgian politics at the age of 28, Calvo is referring to the N-VA's political manifesto which states that Flanders should become an independent state in the long run.

The N-VA won the previous elections (both the federal and regional poll) and are now also part of the federal coalition government for the first time. "They are nationalists but don't have the courage to act according to their beliefs. They create a sick atmosphere in Belgium, but don't have the guts to actually ask the population whether Belgium should be blown up", Calvo lashes out in his book.

The Flemish greens and the N-VA are traditionally not the best of friends. In order to enter the Belgian coalition government last year, the N-VA promised not to focus too much on their regional demands. However, this could a different story in the build-up to the next federal elections in 2019. Meanwhile, the N-VA is still highlighting federal-Flemish issues in the present term.

The greens have a completely different view on the future of Belgium. In his book, Calvo presses for a strong federal Belgian state, which also includes a federal constituency, a refederalisation of powers such as Foreign Trade, a Belgian foreign exchange programme for students and the obligation to study French or Dutch for Dutch- or French-speaking pupils as a second language at school.

The N-VA have not reacted yet. Experts estimate that a referendum about an independent Flanders would probably not have a majority of 'yes' voters.