The Flemish Minister-Président, Geert Bourgeois (New Flemish Alliance – N-VA), is currently distancing himself from the romantic ideal of an independent Flanders. Bourgeois says that independence should be seen as a form of confederalism pushed to its limits.
During a joint interview to be published this week, with his Walloon counterpart, Paul Magnette, he explains, “We will reveal party strategy later. You have full knowledge of our programme. However I, once again, wish to insist that the term ‘independance’ as found within our party constitution, is not ‘independence’ with its nineteenth century meaning.”
He goes on, “A modern nation is part of a far larger context. In Belgium, we must move towards a confederation with federal states, with a common capital and the maximum autonomy and responsibilities.”
The founder of the Flemish nationalist party makes this announcement at a time when the N-VA is undergoing an internal crisis regarding its nationalist aspirations, as stated in article 1 of its Constitution.
The N-VA has accepted the need to put on hold its demands, by forming a Swedish-style coalition excluding the Socialists.
The nationalist base is meanwhile suspicious of the nationalist sincerity of the party.
These doubts only increased following an interview with the N-VA President, Bart De Wever, implying that if the Socialists spend another parliament in Opposition, he may, once again, place a bet on institutional reform demands.
Two deputies, who were, however, made responsible in January for “reinstigating” the party’s joint programme, made their rebellious voices heard. This got them brought into line and saw them withdrawn from their task. They were meeting yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) with Mr De Wever.
The Flemish Movement is meanwhile denouncing the transformation of a nationalist party into a party simply clinging to power.