Laurie Dieffembacq

Extra cabinet meeting and bilateral talks on Migration Pact

There will be an extra cabinet meeting on the Migration Pact. The decision to hold an extra cabinet meeting the time of which has yet to be decided, was taking at Friday morning’s meeting of the Federal Cabinet. Meanwhile, the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel (Francophone liberal) has embarked on a series of bilateral talks with representatives the four Deputy-Prime Minister, one each from the parties that make up Belgium’s Federal Government.  

Speaking after Friday morning’s Federal Cabinet meeting, the Flemish Christian democrat Deputy Prime Minister Kris Peeters told journalists that “We have agreed that an extra cabinet meeting should be held to discuss the issues surrounding the Migration Pact”. However, it is a yet unclear when the meeting will take place.

The Federal Secretary of State responsible for asylum and migration Theo Francken (Flemish nationalist) added that the bilateral talks mean that “The Prime Minister and Mr Jambon will have to talk”. Jan Jambon is the Flemish nationalists’ Deputy Prime Minister in the Federal Government. The Flemish nationalists are opposed to Belgium signing up to the UN Migration Pact, a view that is not shared by the three other parties in the coalition.

Prior to the cabinet meeting Mr Francken had told journalists that he was “shocked by the zeal and aggression of the Flemish Christian democrats at the Flemish liberals. Not a pretty site.  

Mr Francken added that he intends to fight until the last to prevent Belgium from signing up to the Migration Pact. When asked if this could lead to the fall of the centre-right Federal Government he said “Only God knows”.

Meanwhile, Mr Peeters said that a large majority of MPs from both the coalition and the opposition had given their support to the Migration Pact in Thursday evening’s vote in the Federal Parliament.

“It wouldn’t be wise not to take this into account”.  

Speaking on VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’ the Leader of the Flemish Christian democrat group in the Federal Parliament Servais Verherstraeten said that he expects Mr Michel to show creativity and commitment from the Flemish nationalists to accommodate their partners in the federal coalition.