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N-VA joins federal government with large majority of members’ votes
During a party congress, N-VA members approved the federal coalition agreement virtually unanimously. This means that the Flemings who voted on 25 May for change really are getting a different government. “Finally at federal level too, a coalition has been formed that expresses what the Flemish voter wants,” said N-VA Chairman Bart De Wever. That new coalition, entirely unprecedented in Belgian politics, consists of three Flemish parties (N-VA, CD&V and Open Vld) and one French-speaking party (MR).
De N-VA is providing three Ministers and two Secretaries of State to the new federal government, which is led by Charles Michel (MR). This quantity and the importance of the competences instantly reflect the party’s position as the largest Flemish party within that governmental team. Because the competences in question are indeed important ones such as Home Affairs, Finances, Defence and Public Office. What’s more, the N-VA is also providing the new President of the Chamber of Representatives.
Government of reform
During the party congress, some 2,500 enthusiastic N-VA members decided on the participation of the N-VA in the new federal government. For once that government is not a government of taxes, like the last one was, but a government of savings that wishes to reward working people, the N-VA Chairman emphasised in his closing speech.
“But it’s not just a government of savings,” Bart De Wever went on to specify, “it’s above all a government of recovery and reform.” Earlier in the evening, co-negotiator Jan Jambon had already clarified this point too: “Reorganisation means more than making savings. This government must also restore the Competitiveness The extent to which companies in one country can compete with similar companies in another country. A law came into force in Belgium in 1996 to monitor competitiveness. This stipulates that Belgian salaries may not evolve faster than the average of those in the three neighbouring countries. The Central Economic Council (CEC) performs an annual measurement to see if the objectives have been obtained. competitiveness of our economy, implement structural reforms and strengthen society.” Or to use the words of Johan Van Overtveldt, who as a co-negotiator explained the section on work and finances: “We are getting a government that reorganises, rejuvenates and refines.”
Both give and take
The approved federal coalition programme represents a policy that cuts its coat according to its cloth, achieves a balance in the budget via structural savings and finally turns off the tax tap. “We are asking money from people who stash their capital away in tax havens, and we are giving money to people who work or have to make ends meet with a small benefit or allowance,” Bart De Wever said. His conclusion: “The coalition agreement conforms with the N-VA model.”