De Croo "refederalisation" proposal wiped off the table

Alexander De Croo, the Flemish liberal deputy PM in the federal government, has received a strong "njet" from the Flemish nationalist party N-VA on his proposals to "refederalise" some regional powers, i.e. bringing them back to the federal level.

Belgium has been devolving powers from the federal towards the regional level for decades, but this isn't always working as it should, De Croo (bottom photo centre) argues. Speaking in the Francophone daily L'Echo, De Croo proposed to get some powers back to the federal state, such as mobility, environment & energy and foreign trade.

Peter De Roover, the speaker for the Flemish nationalists in federal parliament (photo left) does not agree and is not impressed. "This will not solve things fundamentally. (...) He - De Croo - wants a little bit less Flanders, but we want a lot less Belgium because minor changes are not the solution."

Servais Verherstraeten of the Flemish Christian democrats (CD&V, right) is also not in favour of the idea. "Some seem to forget why we introduced the various state reforms in the first place." He referred to the fact that, according to him, one minister will automatically have to make choices that favour one or another region when making "federal" decisions, a much too sensitive issue.