Nationalists to table Michel I draft legislation in parliament

The opposition Flemish nationalist party, the N-VA, has indicated that it intends to table in parliament much of the legislation that the collapsed federal government had included in its government accord, but which now may not be realised by the Michel II team. 

The government accord negotiated when the Michel I government was being set up four and a half years ago has been the basis for all government action.  Earlier in the month the nationalists left the federal government following a row over the UN global compact on migration.  Mr Michel had hoped to stay on at the head of a minority government, but decided to resign when the socialist and green opposition tabled a no confidence motion.  The prime minister is expected to head a caretaker administration with limited powers until the 26 May general election.

There are worries in Flemish nationalist quarters that some of the plans may not be realised.  The N-VA would like to see the amount you receive in unemployment benefit fall the longer you stay on the dole.  Last summer the government also reached agreement on a labour deal intended to ease the shortage on the labour market.

N-VA floorleader Pieter De Roover told VRT: "We wish to set to work in parliament on the basis of the legacy of Michel I.  N-VA is tabling legislation linked to the labour deal today”.

N-VA hopes to tackle the "retirement pensions trap" as a first step: the fact that some people would get a lower pension after tax despite a gross increase.  Other bills N-VA is considering tabling include one granting mayors more powers to deal with crime.

Pieter De Roover: "We've requested a number of guarantees, guarantees that we can use in parliament, keep an eye on what we agree in parliament and what we don't.  It's a different situation to the one we would be in if we supported the government from the opposition."

Commentators note that last week before the collapse of the government the N-VA was in a position to reach agreement on such matters.