Zuhal Demir was in Le Soir and Sudpresse papers on Saturday, calling for a time limit on unemployment benefit. She said Belgium had a “good social system” but it needed to be “adapted to changes in society”. She didn’t give any details about the kind of things she has to deal with as the new State Secretary for Poverty prevention, Equal opportunities, Disabilities and Science policies.
“I think we should start working towards an insurance system, with higher benefits, so everyone can pay their bills. But we should limit the benefits to two or three years, so the system will allow people to go to work as well. They’ll be encouraged and motivated to work. I don’t think cutting benefits to 800 or 900 euros after 3 or 4 years of unemployment is very social. You can’t pay your bills with that”, admitted the new federal government official.
When speaking about immigration, the New Flemish Alliance MP referred to an executive statement by Guy Verhofstadt (Open Vld). “All the asylum seekers and refugees have been able to become Belgian nationals without authorities being able to demand anything from them, even knowing the language”, she said. Zahir Demir called for a “stricter” but “honest and correct” approach. “When you give someone Belgian nationality, you should to be able to ask for something in exchange. Language, values, the separation of church and state, equality between the sexes, democracy, human rights, these are all extremely important. We haven’t done enough in the past and now young people who were born here are going to fight in Syria”.
When asked about communities, she said “as a democrat, I think all nationalities have a right to their own language, culture and country”, she said.