Jambon hosts new diplomats on Flemish Community Day and calls for 'structural revolution'
Flanders celebrates the Day of the Flemish Community on 11 July, marking 721 years since the Battle of the Golden Spurs. For the occasion, minister-president Jan Jambon (NV-A) hosted the diplomatic corps in Brussels’ Errerahuis on Monday, followed by a speech in Kortrijk, the site of the famous battle during the Franco-Flemish War in 1302.
The graduates of the Diplomatic Academy Flanders were presented with certificates on Monday. In their speeches, Jambon and secretary-general Julie Bynens emphasised the importance of strong international relations in a changing, turbulent world. The new diplomats will contribute to developing solid foreign policy and some will soon leave to take up their posts as deputy diplomatic representatives of Flanders.
Earlier this week, also at the Errerahuis, Jambon awarded the Fayat scholarships to students who wish to pursue a master’s degree at an international institution and are expected to become ambassadors in strengthening the image of Flanders abroad. “Not origin but talent and ambition determine the future,” Jambon said during the ceremony.
Day of the Flemish Community
In Kortrijk, on the eve of the 11 July celebrations, Jambon cited pioneers from the Flemish region whose stories have been included in the Flemish Canon, released in May. He praised Flanders for earning acknowledgement from the European Commission as a leader in innovation for the second year in a row. 3.65 per cent of gross domestic product is invested in research and development in Flanders for projects such as Flanders Technology and Innovation, which began last month.
While he praised the region, he acknowledged there was still much work to be done in education, healthcare and a number of other domains. He said: "In a year's time, we should go for nothing less than a structural revolution of this country, which is now turning completely square.”
Jambon referred to Article 35 in the constitution, which was incorporated in 1993 under then prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene (CD&V) bu has never been applied. It says that the federal government has jurisdiction only for those matters expressly assigned to it by the constitution and laws. All other powers are for the federal states. The implementation of Article 35 is seen as the lever to confederalism. He calls for a “structural revolution” following the 2024 elections.
He referred to the division of powers as “fragmented", saying this type of splintering is not only "totally inefficient" but also prevents Flanders from "advancing to the real leading position in Europe".
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