In a resolution adopted on Friday, the Brussels Parliament calls for May 8 to be a legal and paid public holiday. In addition to the Iris Festival, Brussels also celebrates the Allied victory over Nazi Germany on that day.
May 8 has not been a paid public holiday in Belgium since 1974, despite its historical and symbolic significance. May 8, 1945 marked the end of the Second World War and the Brussels Region decided in 2003 to make May 8 its public holiday.
The region’s Parliament has now put forward a resolution to make May 8 a legal and paid holiday. After all, the federal government stated in its policy statement that the federal states can turn their public holiday into a paid public holiday without additional budgetary costs.
Up to the federal government
Now that the proposal has been approved by the Parliament, the Brussels government can start the discussion at the federal level.
“It can go two ways,” explains liberal Open VLD spokesperson Frederik Ceulemans. “Either the federal government follows its coalition agreement and determines the rules at the federal level within which the federal states can organise their own public holiday, or the federal government goes all out and makes 8 May a national legal holiday straight away.”
Federal Minister of Work and Economy, Pierre-Yves Dermagne, would be in favour of the latter. “Whether 8 May becomes an extra-legal holiday or replaces an existing one will also have to be considered at the federal level and in consultation with the social partners,” Ceulemans said.