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A historic opportunity missed
With this Community agreement, the Flemish parties have missed a historic opportunity to put this country on sound footing, both financially and institutionally. The text of the Community agreement confirms the information that had already been circulating in the media concerning the various partial agreements, and therefore contains little that is newsworthy. After an in-depth study, it has transpired that the N-VA’s initial analysis of the partial agreements is in accordance with the full text as we have now received it:
- The new financing legislation will effectively leave Flanders footing a very heavy bill, while French-speakers receive extra money through various channels. Based on realistic growth figures, this means a loss of 2.2 billion euros for Flanders by 2030.
- BHV: Flemings in Brussels receive even less rights, while French-speakers in Flemish Brabant are granted even more privileges. We find the fact that, for example, French-speaking magistrates will appear in Flanders to be sending entirely the wrong signal. Furthermore, the Flemish concessions are enshrined in special laws and the constitution.
- The Community-related disputes in Brussels and the Vlaamse Rand (Flemish periphery) are in no way appeased by these agreements. On the contrary, they already contain the seeds for future discord.
- Brussels: The capital will not be fundamentally reformed, but will receive an enormous amount of money (600 million euros in 2015, more than 1 billion euros in 2030).
- Competencies: It is a positive thing that the competencies of the federal entities in some fields will be extended, but this is - as expressed previously by Jean-Luc Dehaene - by no means the Copernican Revolution the Flemish parties were hoping for. After all, the most important socio-economic levers remain in federal hands.
In addition, the precise legal texts are still not available, as it is clear that many aspects remain extremely vague or even subject to open disagreement (e.g. simultaneous elections). The negotiators have even had to promise each other to respect the spirit of this agreement.
We will publish a comprehensive and detailed evaluation of the entire Community agreement on our website in a few days.