Flemish PM insists immigrants sign up to Flemish norms and values

Liesbeth Homans has addressed the people of Flanders on the occasion of the Flemish national holiday and in her capacity as prime minister of the outgoing Flemish government.  Speaking at the Groeninge Monument in Kortrijk Flanders’ first woman PM and Flemish nationalist politician spoke up in favour of a Belgian confederation in which two states, Flanders and Wallonia, would decide for themselves what they still wanted to do together, but also touched on the role of newcomers in Flemish society.

Ms Homans insisted further reforms of the Belgian state structure were necessary: “a reform is needed that lays down what Flemings and Francophones still want to decide and manage together.”

The Flemish PM doesn’t believe the Flemish emancipation struggle is over: “Let us continue to strive for a state structure that gives Flemings all the levers to shape the future of Flanders.”

Ms Homans insisted on the need for a good integration of people with roots in migration as this was in the interests of all and society at large: “Where people come from and what their history is isn’t the essential point.  What is essential is our shared future in Flanders.”

The Flemish PM is eager to see newcomers sign up to Flemish norms and values: “We must oblige newcomers to recognise the building blocks of our open, democratic society.  We expect them to share our public culture and participate in society.  This isn’t possible without knowledge of our language.  Learning Dutch is a necessary condition for integration.”