Flemish government “as dead as a dodo”

Flemish government parties, the Flemish nationalist N-VA, the liberal Open VLD and the Christian democrat CD&V, failed to reach agreement on plans to reduce nitrogen in the environment last weekend triggering a major crisis in the coalition.

Flemish PM Jan Jambon (nationalist) blames the Christian democrats claiming they said ‘nyet’ to every proposal, but CD&V argues the PM should come up with a workable solution.

VRT’s political editor Johny Vansevenant says the Flemish government seems as dead as a dodo: “Officially the nationalists still want agreement with the Christian democrats, but it looks like they really want to eject the CD&V from the government. Anticipated Flemish elections are a non-starter.  No other majority presents itself.  It looks like the administration will drag itself on till next year’s scheduled election”.

“At the weekend the N-VA shared a text from the constitution stating that a minister should resign if he or she can’t accept a decision that has been taken”.

Vansevenant doesn’t believe the Christian democrats will accept simply being removed from the government:  “The CD&V points to the fact the constitution speaks of one minister and it possesses three in the administration.  Moreover, the government wouldn’t be constitutional if it didn’t possess a minister representing Brussels and currently that is a CD&V minister”.

Earlier Flemish socialist opposition leader Connor Rousseau suggested his party was prepared to offer support from opposition benches to pass legislation on cutting nitrogen levels in the environment.   Vansevenant says there have been contacts between the nationalists and the Flemish socialists, who are seeking compensation for small farmers obliged to stop as a result of the new legislation: “An alternative majority with the socialists doesn’t have a big majority and the outcome of a vote would depend on who turns up.  Agreement with the opposition greens might be needed, if an agreement is to get enough votes”.

An alternative majority to vote legislation on this issue is possible but is unprecedented.  It would make the position of the CD&V even more untenable believes Vansevenant.

This morning the CD&V indicated it wanted to continue talks till agreement is reached.  The party says PM Jambon (nationalist) should take the initiative.

The Flemish parliament will debate the prospect of new nitrogen legislation tomorrow.

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