Elections 2024: Flemish independence not necessary if confederal Belgium functions well, says N-VA

If confederalism works, there will be no need for an independent Flanders, N-VA leader Bart De Wever told Radio 1 on Thursday.

"Confederalism is the logical next step. And if that leads to the strengthening and protection of prosperity in Flanders, that's enough for me," he said. "I have no obsessions about that. Nationalism is an instrument of good governance. It is not an end in itself."

It is a remarkable statement from the N-VA leader, as the party was originally founded with the ultimate goal of an independent Flanders. "In its quest for better governance and more democracy, the N-VA logically opts for the independent Republic of Flanders," reads Article 1 of the party's statutes.

But when it comes to negotiations after the elections, the re-federalisation of Belgium is out of the question for De Wever. "I don't see the point, I will never discuss it," he says. "The idea of creating a 19th-century country that is responsible for everything is outdated."

No coalition with Vlaams Belang

The N-VA leader also said he had decided not to work with the far-right Vlaams Belang when its leader, Tom Van Grieken, unveiled how he wanted to achieve Flemish independence. Van Grieken plans to give Wallonia five years to reach an agreement with Flanders and, if it fails, to unilaterally declare independence.

De Wever says he hates "crazy strategies, revolutions, improvisation, amateurism...". According to him, the reform of Belgium must take place step by step, starting with confederalism.

Even Vlaams Belang seems willing to let go of its dream of an independent Flanders. On Monday, Van Grieken said he would be willing to become prime minister of Belgium, even if it meant the country would continue to exist.



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