A concrete plan to abolish the Senate once and for all must be ready before the 2024 elections, says current Senate President Stephanie D’Hose.
Plans to abolish the Senate regularly pop up in the press, but this time the chair of the Senate herself is advocating its abolition, in an interview with Het Nieuwsblad.
Her experience as president has taught her that the institution is hardly useful, said D’Hose, who has been president for a year and a half. From the end of February, she plans to install a separate Senate committee to prepare the plan to abolish it.
𝐖𝐞 𝐥𝐞𝐠𝐠𝐞𝐧 𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐭 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧 𝐨𝐩 𝐭𝐚𝐟𝐞𝐥 𝐨𝐦 𝐝𝐞 𝐒𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐚𝐭 𝐩𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐤 𝐯𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐠 𝐭𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐧.
Zo kan de eerste zitting van de Senaat na de verkiezingen in 2024 meteen de laatste zijn. pic.twitter.com/jYTAqYmCYH
— Open Vld (@openvld) January 8, 2022
Translation: “We are putting forward a concrete plan to completely dismantle the Senate politically. That way, the first session of the Senate after the 2024 elections can also be the last.”
For Egbert Lachaert, the president of the Flemish liberal Open Vld party, of which D’Hose is a member, the most important thing is that the Senate ceases to exist as a separate political institution.
“It costs the taxpayer €40 million a year, while the Senate hardly has any added value,” he said in the same interview, adding that there has been a consensus among the other Flemish parties for some time now that the Senate no longer has a future.
This Federal Government’s coalition agreement includes a short passage on the Senate in the section on “political renewal,” reports De Standaard.
‘To deepen this first set of reforms, a dynamic will be launched in the Chamber of Representatives, involving citizens, the university world and society. This process aims to examine how the Constitution and legislation can be modernised to make them more democratic,’ the agreement states.
One of the subjects to be discussed then is precisely the continued existence of the Senate. However, the Senate still has more than 150 staff members.
“Very good and passionate people work here,” said D’Hose. “They must retain a place in the future Federal Parliament or its associated institutions. I have already discussed this with my colleague from the Chamber, Eliane Tillieux. She is willing to cooperate.”