"Make Brussels and Wallonia less reliant on Flemish cash"

Flemish Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois has addressed the nation of the eve of the Flemish holiday. Mr Bourgeois called for Belgium's regional governments to be given powers over income tax and if at all possible also over corporation tax.

The Flemish prime minister was speaking as Flemings prepared to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of the Golden Spurs. In this battle in Kortrijk in 1302 an army of Flemish townspeople defeated the knights of the king of France preventing the incorporation of Flanders into the French kingdom and allowing Flanders to continue to develop as an independent entity.

The Flemish nationalist politician favours a seventh instalment of devolutionary reforms after the next election. These reforms should give Flanders greater powers in the fields of labour market, health care and taxation. The Flemish leader insisted that Flanders was displaying solidarity vis-à-vis the two other Belgian regions, Brussels and Wallonia, witness the 6.5 billion euros in cash that is channelled south each and every year.

"Flanders displays solidarity with those who are poorer and not as well off, but the figure must remain reasonable" the Flemish leader noted.

Mr Bourgeois is keen for Brussels and Wallonia to pursue policies that improve their financial situation and make them less dependent on Flemish cash. The Flemish PM also repeated calls for a Flemish basic law insisting that in 2019 the necessary action needs to be taken to allow the next federal parliament to revise the Belgian constitution.