Elections 2024: Jan Jambon: 'No Flemish independence without a support base'

"The first condition for an independent Flanders is that the majority of the population is in favour of it. But with 20 per cent, it's an adventure you can't take." Jan Jambon (N-VA) made the comments in an interview on Canvas on Friday evening. He was reacting to the roadmap recently proposed by opposition party Vlaams Belang for Flemish independence after the 2024 elections.

Jambon wanted to personally answer the question of Flemish independence, not in his capacity as Flemish minister-president. "I am inclined to the idea," he said. "The first condition is that it is an idea that the people support. But every study that has been done shows that - I'm going to be very optimistic - only 20 per cent are in favour of it."

Architectural defects

Nevertheless, Jambon called for the "architectural defects" of the constitution to be corrected. "After [the 2024 elections] we should sit down (...). We should transfer powers to the states and we should also transfer the tax law. I think there is much more public support for that."

Jambon's comments come in response to the roadmap that Vlaams Belang launched last week, which focuses on the independence of Flanders. To achieve this goal, the right-wing party is looking to N-VA, which also has Flemish independence in its statutes.

"First of all, we have to see if we have a majority together," Jambon said. "Un petit detail", especially if a third party would be needed to form a majority.

Cordon sanitaire

Another important detail is that there is still a cordon sanitaire, which means that no other Flemish party will enter into administrative agreements with Vlaams Belang. This applies to both the local and the national level. This is why Vlaams Belang is consistently ignored and not involved in issues. To keep the party out of power, it is excluded from government and other political meetings.

In 1992, the Flemish political parties signed a resolution making it impossible to govern with the Vlaams Blok, the forerunner of Vlaams Belang. In 2000, the leaders of VLD (now Open VLD), CVP (now CD&V), Agalev (now Groen) and the then People's Union signed a Charter for Democracy in which they explicitly affirmed "that our party unreservedly maintains the 'cordon sanitaire' around the Vlaams Blok, which means that we will not enter into political cooperation, agreements or coalitions at any level of government".


#FlandersNewsService | Vlaams Belang's Tom Van Grieken and N-VA's Jan Jambon at a plenary session of the Chamber at the federal parliament in Brussels in 2019 © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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