De Lijn feels it has been unfairly treated and plans to take the federal government to court
Sunday, 08 October 2017
The Flemish public transport company De Lijn plans to sue the federal government. They claim it has denied them a saving of 18 million euros a year and has impacted its future as a public company, the Mediahuis papers reported on Saturday.
De Lijn is complaining about a reduction in charges caused by the tax shift, as it will benefit De Lijn’s Walloon and Brussels counterparts but not De Lijn itself. “We will miss out on a significant saving every year for historical reasons”, says De Lijn’s Director General Roger Kesteloot. The issue has arisen because of De Lijn’s status with the ONSS, which is under the jurisdiction of Maggie De Block. She could sort it all out through a simple adaptation, says Kesteloot –“she could take us off the list in a 1970 royal decree”.
The Flemish Minister concerned, Ben Wyets (N-VA), backs De Lijn’s choice to sue Maggie De Block. However he acknowledges “it is difficult for the Minister to give up 18 million euros”.
The Liberal Minister is adamant: De Lijn won’t get a reduction in charges as it simply doesn’t apply in their case. “And we didn’t bring in the tax shift so we can change who it applies to on a whim”, she added.
In its opposition, the sp.a has said the Minister’s behaviour in this case is a sign of liberal pressure towards “the privatisation of Flemish public transport”, reveals its leader Joris Vandenbroucke.