Friday, 29 November 2019
The far-right Flemish nationalist party Vlaams Belang is selling ‘Flemish ID-cards’ with name, birthday and picture for €5 for charity, but the charity has said it will refuse the money.
The money was supposed to go to the ‘Boven de Wolken’ charity, which makes photo albums for parents of a deceased child for free. “We are here for all parents,” the organisation said, reports VRT NWS. “We have no political affiliation, and we would like to keep it that way,” they added.
Vlaams Belang is offering Flemish ID-cards to show that “the expiry date of the Belgian construction has long since been exceeded.” Ordering a personalised Flemish identity card is possible on the party website for €5.
The party wanted to transfer this money to ‘Boven de Wolken’ via ‘De Warmste Week’, which is an annual event organised by Flemish radio channel Studio Brussel to encourage people to collect money for charities of their choice.
“We are grateful to everyone who wants to support us. Unfortunately, we are now discovering that this is not just a waffle or biscuit sale, and we have to conclude that our name is being used to convey a political message. We want to explicitly distance ourselves from this,” the organisation said in a Facebook post that has since been deleted, reports De Standaard.
“If the initiative stays as it is, we will refuse the money. We cannot proclaim solidarity and at the same time take money from such a politically coloured initiative. That would not be fair,” said Sharon Geirnaert of the non-profit association, reports Het Nieuwsblad.
“Vlaams Belang contacted us to ask if they could organise something for us and we said yet. Unfortunately, we did so without knowing the content of the initiative. We want to be there for everyone, and Vlaams Belang is welcome too, but without any political gain,” she added.
“We have very consciously chosen this charity organisation. We are willing to have a conversation with ‘Boven de Wolken’ about this,” said Bob De Brabandere, the spokesperson of Vlaams Belang chairman Tom Van Grieken, reports Het Nieuwsblad.
“Every participant is free to think up their own campaign,” said Hans Van Goethem, a VRT spokesperson for De Warmste Week. “We do make sure that actions are not political, because De Warmste Week wants to connect people,” he added. “We respect the opinion of every charity, so we will facilitate a conversation between the nonprofit and the party,” he added.
The Brussels Times