Anneleen van Bossuyt is a Flemish MEP, Chair of the IMCO Committee (Internal Market and Consumer Protection) and member of the ECR Group. Her party, the Flemish NVA, is working for more self-determination for the European regions.
What does the Catalan independence movement mean for Belgium's future?
The N-VA (New Flemish Alliance) also advocates the right to self-determination.very nation must fill this concept with substance. The Catalan independence movement is enjoying considerable popularity. But the respective contexts in Catalonia and Flanders are different. A referendum on Flemish independence would not find a majority among the Flemish today. But we need support both in Flanders and in the French-speaking part of the country in order to make the transition to confederalism. That is our approach to solving the impasse in Belgium. Belgium is made up of two democracies, and confederalism ensures the prosperity of both the Flemish and French-speaking populations. Confederalism means that the regions agree on what they want to do together and what they do not want to do together. Flanders and the Walloon Region must be able to decide for themselves what policies they want to implement. In our quest for better governance and more democracy, the N-VA is striving in the long term for an independent Flemish republic as a member of a democratic European Union.
Belgium is a divided country - between Flanders and Wallonia. Is this a symbol of the EU?
Unfortunately, we do see striking similarities. There are already several transfer mechanisms in the EU, be it from north to south or from west to east. And the Eurofederalists are constantly making new proposals that place much more emphasis on solidarity than on direct responsibility. An important task of the N-VA at European level is to prevent the EU from becoming even more of a Belgian XL model. We are not against solidarity, but it must be conditional, objective and transparent. Like the EU, Belgium is also a sum of several democracies with their own and differing views on issues such as social security, taxation and migration. Experience in Belgium teaches us that a forced unity policy for different nations can lead to stagnation and blockage. The United States of Europe will never work. The EU should instead work on a confederal model.
That is also our solution for Belgium. It is up to the sovereign States and regions to decide together in which areas they want to cooperate.
Reference for the used photo:
- Cover photo: Anneleen van Bossuyt