Bracke on Vlaams Belang: “There are too many differences just as there are too many difference between us and the PS”

Although he believes that the so-called “cordon sanitaire”, an agreement between all other parties not to enter coalitions with the far-right Vlaams Belang, is outdated, the former Speaker of the Federal Parliament Siegfried Bracke (Flemish nationalist) doesn’t believe that his party will be governing  with Vlaams Belang any time soon. Mr Bracke told the VRT’s Sunday morning topical discussion programme ‘De Zevende Dag’ that his party would not enter into a coalition with the far-right Vlaams Belang “For the simple reason that there are too many differences, just as there are too many difference between us as the PS (Francophone socialists).    

Over the past few day a lot has been written and said about the man leading the talks to prepare the way for negotiations that will lead to formation of new Flemish Government Bart De Wever. Earlier this week Mr De Wever invited the far-right Vlaams Belang for a second round of talks.      

On Friday Mr Bracke, who failed to be re-elected on 26 May, announced that he was retiring from politics. He believes that his party should talk to Vlaams Belang and calls the “cordon sanitaire” “a concept from a different age”. Mr Bracke describes the way in which the Flemish liberals and the Flemish Christian democrats closed the door on Vlaams Belang immediately after the elections as “not sensible, not wise”. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that he believes that N-VA is going to jump into bed with Vlaams Belang.        

Siegfried Bracke believes that the far-right gained ground for a number of reasons. The issue of migration was one of them, socio-economic issues were another. However, “the way in which we conduct ourselves in politics in this country”, also played a role.