The Flemish Energy Minister, Bart Tommelein, yesterday (Wednesday) alerted the Flemish parliament as to the amounts which Flanders may have to pay out to Wallonia. This will be relevant if, by not reaching the set climate objectives, the north of the country has to buy back surpluses in the south of the country.
“Here’s hoping that we will not need this agreement. However, so that we don’t, we must reach our objectives in Flanders,” Mr Tommelein (from the Open Vld) said, when addressing parliament at the start of the debate.
This came the day after an intra-Belgian agreement, a hot topic, establishing the prices at which Flanders should buy back potential surpluses from Wallonia.
This applies if Flanders does not reach its renewable energy production objectives or those for the reduction of greenhouse gases.
He went on saying if these objectives are not reached “we will have to pay out serious money.”
He said, “Every Flemish individual should know that this will cost us an unutterable amount of money.”
His Environment colleague, Joke Schauvliege (from the Flemish Christian Democrats), repeated her hopes for a so-called fixed key cost distribution between the federal state and the regions.
She said, “It is already long overdue. How could we avoid having this discussion in the months to come?” She responded to her own question, “By fixed distribution of costs, agreed in advance, even before knowing Europe’s objective. This seems to me to smartest way to act.”
Moreover, Mr Tommelein roundly criticised the federal Minister for Climate Marie-Christine Marghem (from the Conservative Liberals), who had literally pleaded that climate policy should be handled at federal level. This was in view of the difficulties that various Belgian entities had encountered when looking at the issue on a regional basis.
Tommelein was adamant, “She should get her own house in order before criticising others, and we will do likewise. She should get the speck of dust out of her own eye, before looking at others.”
He went on, “I absolutely do not agree with Marghem when she says that the regions are not making fast progress.”
He concluded, “Moreover, bringing this issue back to federal level would not be a step forward. We know, very well, that renewable energy is one of our main skills in the regions.”