“We want Flanders to teach Europe how to integrate people”

The Flemish MP Karl Vanlouwe (nationalist) hopes that the rest of Europe will take a leaf out of Flanders’ book when it comes to the integration of new-comers. Mr Vanlouwe’s proposal was put forward as in his job rapporteur to the European Committee of the Regions. The Committee has approved Mr Vanlouwe’s proposals.

The European Commission has drawn up an action plan for the integration of newcomers across the European Union. The Commission is now asking the advice of the various European institutions, including the Committee of the Regions.

Karl Vanlouwe who represents Brussels in the Flemish Parliament for the Flemish nationalist party N-VA was appointed Rapporteur by the Committee of the Regions.

He based his report on the integration measures already in place here in Flanders. Mr Vanlouwe stresses the importance of a balance between rights and obligations. “We want Flanders to teach Europe how to integrate people”.

The Flemish integration course has been in place since 2004. All newcomers (from outside the EU) that come to live in Flanders legally are obliged to follow the course. Much emphasis is placed on language lessons as most newcomers don’t speak Dutch.

"For it is crucial that those that come and live here are able to communicate with their neighbours. Language is also means to find work of for children to get on at school. In addition to language, the Flemish integration course also offers a course in Flemish society and customs”, Mr Vanlouwe told VRT News.