Bart De Wever identifies a Belgian problem: “There’s something wrong with this country”

4 December 2020
Bart De Wever

“If you only want to have all the nice things and to leave all the burdens to someone else, that’s what they call hostile neighbourliness.” N-VA chairman Bart De Wever explained once again in the programme De Afspraak why the Brussels city toll is not a good idea. “What Brussels is doing now is a devastating blow to this system. Now citizens will be saying that this is simply a plain tax increase.” When asked whether it is not a good thing in the current Belgian federal structure to welcome the unilateral introduction of such a city toll in Brussels, our N-VA chairman had his answer ready. “If you want to turn Brussels into a city-state, you have to go all the way, and we will have to even the bill.”

Coronavirus: no easing at Christmas

In addition to the city toll, the debate was also about the coronavirus situation, among other things. Bart De Wever disagreed with the request for easing from the MR. “You won’t hear me arguing for easing, because the curve isn’t actually that great. This seems like a no-brainer to me.” The N-VA chairman did, however, urge the federal government to speed up the vaccinations. “Otherwise, support for the measures will really collapse. If you now say: the vaccine is coming, but you won’t be allowed to travel next summer … then I’m afraid you will lose the population altogether.”

Belgium cannot function

Inevitably, the Belgian state structure was discussed. “Belgium is the sum of two democracies. That can’t work. Belgium would never have been federalised if it had been able to function as a unitary country. We’ve been working on that debilitating history for a hundred years now. Let’s finally make some choices.” According to Bart De Wever, the PS has made the mental switch towards Confederalism If we want to make structural changes, then we have to change the structures. Confederalism is the structural change that this country needs. The basic principle of confederalism is that Flanders and Wallonia are the owners of all powers. They exercise these themselves, but can also make decisions together and manage certain powers together at the confederal level, in both of their interests. This completely reverses the logic. Instead of transferring federal powers to Flanders and Wallonia, these powers can be transferred to the confederal level. Forced cooperation is replaced by voluntary cooperation. Must becomes will. Dismantling from above becomes building up from below. Confederalism is therefore deciding together on what we want to do together. confederalism by now.

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