Monday, 23 December 2019
Theo Francken, of the Flemish rightwing N-VA party, has warned francophones in Belgium that “they should not play with fire” or there will be a Flemish nationalist majority in the federal parliament by 2024.
Francken, the former Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, has said in an interview with the Walloon Sudpresse newspapers that he had “a feeling” that the extreme-right Flemish nationalist party Vlaams Belang would gain a lot of support in the 26 May elections. “N-VA put a lot of effort into migration, but our agenda was not social enough, or we did not communicate properly about that part,” he said.
He called it “frustrating” that everything related to the language struggle and the relations between the Flemish and Walloon regions was put on hold. “The 2016 terror attacks have left their mark on the people, they’re still talking to me about it. About migration, too, but no one starts talking to me about the climate,” he said.
“There is no federal government yet, and people are angry that Vlaams Belang is not part of the Flemish government,” he said. N-VA is still a candidate to be a part of the federal government, according to Francken. “Leaving the N-VA and Vlaams Belang, the two parties who received the most votes in the country, in the opposition? Seriously? There must be reasonable people at the table,” he said.
Francken warns the French-speakers that they’d better take his party into account. “The francophones must pay close attention. At the elections in 2024, they should not complain if the Flemish-nationalist parties get a majority. Those who call themselves statesmen cannot keep saying no to our reasonable institutional demands. It is not extremist to ask for more autonomy. Those who say they love Belgium should not play with fire,” he added.
The Brussels Times