When Flemish observers are surprised that De Wever “First of all Belgians” is no longer a subject of debate

When Flemish observers are surprised that De Wever “First of all Belgians” is no longer a subject of debate
When Flemish observers are surprised that De Wever “First of all Belgians” is no longer a subject of debate

The man had been shocking, provoking and making many Walloons nervous for years. “It is therefore surprising that Bart De Wever, who had opposed all the Flemish parties and who had not established the slightest relationship with Georges-Louis Bouchez or Maxime Prévot, finds himself at the heart of this new constellation.” We confides the daily’s editorialist The last news Isolde Van den Eynde. “He doesn’t trust anyone else to take over the role of Prime Minister and, given the election results, he has become the man of providence. Even for the Walloons.”

Some Flemish observers, however, acknowledge that the image they had of French speakers has changed since June 9. Political journalist Ivan De Vadder sees the election of a French-speaking centre-right majority, as in Flanders, as the key to the vote. “This has made many analyses obsolete. And it also allows Bart De Wever to realise his intention to lead the government.” The VRT journalist sees a parallel with the arrival of the nationalist Jan Jambon at the federal level in 2014: “When a Flemish nationalist commits to working for Belgium, without making too many demands in terms of community matters, he makes himself acceptable in the eyes of French speakers. It is all the easier if the socio-economic lines prove to be compatible.”

“But let’s be careful, soulful Isolde Van den Eynde, If the Flemish were surprised, the confidence in the Engagés – whom they know little about – is not yet there. We remember the images of Joëlle Milquet, that of a Mrs. No glued to the PS. Maxime Prévot will have to, like Paul Magnette, show himself in Flanders. It is a duty that awaits him.”

“It would be smart for French speakers to let Bart De Wever become Prime Minister”

“De Wever has changed”

Ivan De Vadder also notes that Bart De Wever has changed in ten years. “At the time, his nationalist soul did not allow him to consider managing Belgium. Whereas in recent months, he has sent many signals to the Walloons. He wants to reform the country for Flanders, but also to make Wallonia more prosperous.”

For French speakers, however, a large unknown remains. What will the trainer’s ambitions be in institutional matters? Mystery. On the Flemish side, no observer imagines a freezing of all nationalist demands as was the case under the Swedish coalition of Charles Michel. If Bart De Wever is not counting on a two-thirds parliamentary majority, which would force him to speak with the PS, he intends to show creativity. This will undoubtedly involve parallel negotiations so as not to slow down the government team in its socio-economic reforms. The idea of ​​having two-headed ministries will undoubtedly resurface in order to allow asymmetrical federal policies adapted to regional issues. Some are thus talking about the introduction of the points-based license in Flanders.

Bart De Wever’s trauma

“He will have to at least pretend.”

The editorialist of the leading Flemish newspaper also observes Bart De Wever’s transformation into a bilingual statesman of the “CVP” type. Will he therefore become the First of all Belgians? “He would never have imagined it twenty years ago. Now, he will have to at least pretend to be and make people forget the controversies of the past.”

Particularly cunning, the leader of the N-VA is known and even admired for the effectiveness of his political strategy. On the very sensitive community issues, Bart De Wever has – until now – managed to reassure Georges-Louis Bouchez and Maxime Prévot. However, all Flemish observers agree that it would be illusory to think that De Wever could launch a government coalition without the slightest guarantee in favour of more regional autonomy.

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