Jan Jambon wants to prepare a division of powers with “double ministers”

11 July 2020
Jan Jambon

“The current model isn’t working.” Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon is launching a proposal to break the Belgian deadlock in response to 11 July. For federal powers such as Public Health and Labour, he wants both a Flemish and a French-speaking minister in the federal government. “That way, we can prepare the separation of those powers.”

Two federal ministers of Education

Jan Jambon’s proposal seems newer than it actually is. “It has been that way in the past. Before Education was transferred to the communities, there were two federal ministers of Education to prepare it. One was Flemish, and the other was French-speaking. Things have been the same for the past four government formations. To get away from this, having two ministers could be a model that works. Then you can prepare the separation of powers.”

The proposal does not mean that extra ministers would be added to the federal government. Within the constitutionally established maximum of 15 ministers, ministers can take on more portfolios than is the case today.

Healthcare and labour market policies to the communities

According to the Flemish Minister-President, the coronavirus crisis has once again demonstrated how unworkable Belgian fragmentation is. “The coronavirus crisis has taught us that it’s better to bring the powers together under one umbrella. In the case of healthcare, we have seen what the consequences are of having all those ministers around the table. This is best managed at the community level. The same applies to labour market policies. The situation in Wallonia is very different from that in Flanders. You must be able to pursue a different policy.”

PS and N-VA need to talk about fundamental problems

Jan Jambon is inviting the PS to “take an honest look at everything together and talk about the fundamental problems of the country. I’m convinced that we have to mould this country into a different model. The current model has been proven not to work.”

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