Parties react to the imminent start of Flemish coalition talks

The various political parties have reacted to the news that the Flemish nationalists, the liberals and the Christian democrats are to start talks on Tuesday that should lead to the formation of a new Flemish Government. 

In a reaction on Monday afternoon the Flemish Christian democrats said that the document published by the nationalist leader as a basis for talks was only that. “Let’s be clear, this is the start of negotiations”.  

The party’s leader Wouter Beke says it hopes to bring three important priorities to the policies of the new Flemish Government. “Proximity. The difference is made in policies on issues that are close to people’s everyday life” these include investment in cities and municipalities.

Secondly, the Christian democrats want a “social signal to be sent out with “certainty of care, quality education and affordable bills”. Thirdly “people want to feel at home” in Flemish society. Mr Beke added that this should be based on “rights and obligations”.   

Liberals enthusiastic

In a brief statement the leader of the Flemish liberals said “As far as we are concerned the work can now start”. 

“Losers league”

The far-right Vlaams Belang that was the big winner in the elections on 26 May has dubbed the parties that will be taking part in the negotiation “The loser’s league”. The nationalists, the Christian democrats and the liberals all lost ground on 26 May. 

Socialists call Mr De Wever’s document “poor”

The socialists that had long remained tipped as possible coalition partners described Mr De Wever’s document as “poor”.

In a press statement the party said “Apparently we put the bar too high and our demands were too social. Flemings’ bills rose sharply in recent years and the waiting lists for care are now longer than ever. The Fleming will be getting the same government with just the same vague promises as 5 years ago. This doesn’t look like providing the essential reforms that Flanders needs".  

Vlaams Belang leader “Was holding the pen with them”

Almost from the outset it was clear that the greens wouldn’t be entering into a new Flemish coalition. Not unsurprisingly the party is not impressed with the proposals put forward in Mr De Wever’s document.  

"The two most important measures to set the climate transition in train, road charging and the concrete stop, are completely absent”, the party says in a press statement. The greens say that the nationalists have too much faith in “the magic word innovation” for them to be able to address climate change.

The greens also strongly disagree with the measures proposed on identity and integration.    

"Tom Van Grieken (the leader of Vlaams Belang) held the pen with them while they were writing it”, the leader of the Flemish greens said.

The party’s group leader in the Flemish Parliament Björn Rzoka added that the policies listed appear to be a choice for a “closed Flemish identity rather than the open Flanders that we have been through the centuries”.