ELECTIONS 2024: Flemish vice minister president: 'Time to shift centre of gravity to federal states'

In an interview with the local newspaper Krant van West-Vlaanderen, Flemish vice minister president Hilde Crevits argued for thorough state reform towards confederalism. "It is time to shift the centre of gravity to the federal states," she said.

Ahead of the Flemish holiday of 11 July, Flemish politicians traditionally talk about Flanders, Flemish autonomy and the structure of the state. In an interview, CD&V leader Hilde Crevits called the next state reform "super important". ​ "At the very least, we want the labour market and healthcare to be completely decentralised."

Strong federal states

Crevits said she favoured Belgium with two strong federal states: Flanders and Wallonia. "They should decide together what they want to do at the Belgian level. Brussels and the German-speaking part can then have their status. But Flanders mustn't let go of Brussels."

CD&V is not the first Flemish party to advocate confederalism. The issue has long been the hobbyhorse of the right-wing conservative N-VA. "The N-VA is not the originator," said Crevits. Kris Peeters (CD&V) was advocating for this when he was minister president between 2007 and 2014.

Federal state vs confederalism

Belgium is a federal state, an independent entity of several regions. In the strict, traditional definition, confederalism is the opposite: a union of several independent states. These then agree, based on a treaty, to regulate certain matters jointly, such as national defence or foreign policy.

Although N-VA and now CD&V favour confederalism, several parties in Flanders and Wallonia are not convinced by the idea. Some parties even want to re-federalise powers.

Ahead of the 2024 national and regional elections, the N-VA had already put confederalism back on the political agenda by launching a website to inform voters. "We have to pull Flanders out of the abuses of the current Belgian federalism. Either that or we will lose our prosperity," party leader Bart De Wever said earlier this year.



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