Monday, 30 September 2019
Flanders will no longer be a contributing member of Belgium’s anti-discrimination centre Unia, in a move which makes the Flemish region the first one in Belgium to cut contributions to the institution.
The news came hours after regional government negotiators reached a coalition agreement for the new legislature, of which a central focus will be to balance out the region’s finances.
Reported by HLN, the region’s pullout will likely tip Unia’s budget off-balance, since the centre was financed jointly by the federal and regional governments, as well as the language communities, with Flanders’ contribution in 2015 totalling €800,000.
Unia, officially named the Inter-Federal Equal Opportunities Centre, had been in the crosshairs of the Nieuw Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA) —one of the leading parties in the new regional coalition— with regional ministers of the nationalist party in 2017 criticising the centre as being biased.
“If a blonde, blue-eyed woman files a complaint after being called a nazi prostitute (sic), she has zero chances of being heard,” integration minister Liesbeth Homans said at the time. “But if a veiled woman (sic) introduces a complaint after being insulted, her chances of being heard are of 100%.”
During a press conference organised after the coalition agreement was reached, N-VA chairman Bart de Wever told reporters that Flanders would seek to set up its own equal opportunities institute, according to live reports by the outlet.
The Brussels Times
Update: This article has been updated to include the most recent information about the creation of a Flemish anti-discrimination centre.