Geert Bourgeois about the European Country Report: “Flanders must excel”

1 March 2019
Flanders presents a balanced budget

“Flanders is once again showing itself to be the best student in the class, but there is no reason for complacency.” Flemish Minister-President Geert Bourgeois responds with satisfaction, but also with ambition, to the Country Report of the European Commission. He welcomes the fact that Europe is paying increasing attention to Flemish policy within Belgium. “All too often, Europe works with Belgian numbers. That makes it more difficult to align our Flemish policy with it,” says the Minister-President. The N-VA parliamentary group had earlier already responded to the Country Report from a federal point of view.

Best in class

The increased European attention for the regional differences can be seen in the number of explicit references to Flanders. For example, the Country Report makes a regional difference for, among other things, the unemployment rate and growth in GDP The gross domestic product (GDP) is the total monetary value of all goods and services produced within a country, both by companies and the government. This term is usually used as a benchmark for a country’s prosperity. This is why the N-VA closely follows the evolution of the Belgian GDP. GDP . The conclusion is always the same: within Belgium, Flanders is always the head of the class. Nevertheless, Flanders must not be blinded by the European findings, and in the opinion of Geert Bourgeois: “Flanders must seize all its opportunities to take its place with the Hanseatic countries, with the European top of the social welfare states. That is the road for Flanders.”

Excelling in education

The Country Report doesn’t only contain messages of praise. It also points out the worsening of education provision in Flanders. “Agreed, this is absolutely not pleasant to read, but under no circumstances may we sweep this under the carpet. Our Flemish education still scores above average, but is losing its lead. We only have one raw material in Flanders, and it is located between 1.5 and 2 metres above ground level. If today we don’t ensure that we maintain the high quality, we will pay the price in 20 to 25 years’ time. Flemish education must once again bring the performance of all students up to the high standard for which it had a patent in the past. We must want to excel!” Geert Bourgeois concludes forcefully.

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