The Flemish initiative is not unrelated to events in the US and Sunday’s demo in Brussels that lawmakers also discussed. Studies show that the handicapped, older workers, women and people of foreign heritage are all underrepresented on the Flemish labour market, while discrimination is rife in the rent sector. Government lawmakers say that strict agreements per sector as well as an independent, academic monitoring system that maps out racism are the answer.
Government MFPs are not seeking tests by anonymous inspectors to probe whether discrimination or racism is present in practice. The greens are demanding such tests, while other left wing parties are disappointed they are not being introduced.
Flanders possesses no legal framework to carry out such tests, though in cities like Ghent they are already being organised. Liberal lawmaker Sihame El Kaouakibi, a government MFP, says that prosecutors will have the task of tracking down discrimination on the labour and rent markets and of prosecuting offenders.