The “Freedom Plan” presented by the Flemish government is prioritising big Flemish festivals like Tomorrowland whilst neglecting the wider culture sector, according to Pierre-Yves Jeholet, the president of the Brussels-Wallonia Federation.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Sunday he was in favour of organising major festivals during the second half of the summer and that he had been in contact with the organisers of Tomorrowland, according to reports from Belga News Agency.
“I have the impression that Flanders is very interested in big cultural events. I am interested in reopening all culture," Jeholet said on Monday on Bel RTL.
Ons land is wereldtop in festivals en dat gaan we deze zomer opnieuw tonen.Tweede helft van de zomer moeten grotere festivals mogelijk zijn. Met onder meer vooraf testen en Europees vaccinatiepaspoort. Dinsdag legt het Overlegcomité de voorwaarden vast in een breed Zomerplan. — Alexander De Croo (@alexanderdecroo) May 9, 2021
De Croo said on Twitter that Belgium would show that it is a world leader in festivals again during the second half of this summer, as "bigger festivals should be possible. With, among other things, pre-testing and a European vaccination passport."
It has been suggested that relaxations of anti-Covid measures will be made on the basis of the European green certificate, which will take into account vaccination, a negative test result, or immunity, and the progress of the pandemic in Belgium.
Jeholet added he could not understand why events would be limited to 5,000 people in July, to then be expanded to 80,000 to 100,000 people in August.
He also emphasised that the debate should be broadened to include discussions on the social bubble, as he said it “would be unthinkable to allow large festivals with thousands of people, but to continue to forbid grandparents to see their grandchildren.”
The plan, which according to the head of the GEMS advisory group, Erike Vlieghe, went in against expert advice, takes the form of a calendar of month-by-month relaxations of the anti-Covid restrictions, culminating in a tentative return to normality by October.
As De Croo announced on Twitter, there will be another Consultative Committee on Tuesday focussing on the future of existing health measures and the exact details and conditions of the plan.
According to Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon, more freedom for the culture and events sector will definitely be “on the agenda”.