Vlaams Belang boycotts Flemish parliament against absent ministers: “From Africa to America with this government” | Interior
Update“The most important thing for every politician is the country and the home”: Vlaams Belong condemned the absence of several Flemish ministers during question time in the Flemish parliament on Wednesday and immediately left the hemisphere in protest after the plenary session. “Five of the nine Flemish ministers are abroad. It shows very little respect for Flemish democracy,” says party leader Chris Janssens. A spokesman for Prime Minister Jan Zambon (N-VA) calls our editors’ criticism “next to the problem.”
Koen van de Sipe, Igor Bulke
A maximum of four Flemish ministers took their seats on the government benches this afternoon. Five Flemish dignitaries are abroad: Flemish Prime Minister Jan Zambon (N-VA) spent a day in Bilbao in the Spanish Basque Country, and Minister Matthias Diependale (N-VA) left for South Africa on a state visit with King Philip and Queen Mathilde. Ministers Lydia Peeters (Open Vld) and Zuhal Demir (N-VA) went to the UN Water Conference in New York, and Minister Benjamin Dalle (CD&V) also went to the US on a mission.
According to Vlaams Belang party leader Janssens, the fact that more than half of the ministers cannot be in parliament to answer questions on policy shows “very little respect for the Flemish parliament and for democracy in general”. “If there are no competent ministers, how can there be serious debate on matters important to the Flemish people”, Janssens wonders.
see “After Café Jambon, warring ministers publicly threw bar stools at each other, and now we have Travel Agency Jambon”, Janssens began.
“Scrutinizing the government is an important task of parliament, but we cannot do that if the majority of government members send their cat to full question time. Ministers should care about the problems of our people and not spend time on publicity trips,” Janssens said.
“From Africa to America”
So the Williams Belong group walked out of the session in protest at the outset. “I want to send a clear signal that we, the representatives of Flemish democracy, will not be deceived by the administration,” he said. The party leader in Parliament was even sharper. “From Africa to America with this Flemish government”, he began. “After Cafe Jambon, warring ministers publicly threw bar stools at each other, and now we have Travel Agency Jambon. When are we going to get a government pawn to deal with the problems of the Flemish?”
“The most important country for every politician is at home,” Janssens concluded. However, a spokesman for Prime Minister John Zambon said the criticism was unfair. “We always try to be there as much as possible for the plenary sessions on Wednesday,” says Oliver van Ramdonk. “All ministers are taking this into account as much as possible. But sometimes you have overseas obligations.
According to the spokesperson, it is highly exceptional for several ministers to be on foreign duty at the same time, but it should not cause major problems. “Ministers are often and often at the disposal of Parliament. There are also several committees. Also, I don’t know what urgent matters cannot be dealt with now.
He also emphasizes the importance of foreign missions. “Flanders is very dependent on foreign countries. A third of our jobs depend on exports. The Flemish government does not respond to this because it is unforgiving. It would not be good if Flanders locked itself under a church tower,” he replies.
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