...il Vlaams Blok.

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The Vlaams Blok is the party of Flemish independence. We seek to bring into being a fully autonomous Flemish state. As a patriotic party, we seek to protect the Flemish identity and to defend Flemish interests.

The Blok is a democratic party, which strives to implement its programme within the framework of parliamentary democracy, under the rule of law.

The party is attached inseparably to the principles of self-determination of peoples, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of assembly and the equality of all citizens before the law. The party subscribes to the 1950 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The Blok is not religiously denominational. Believers (in Flanders, normally Roman Catholics) and non-believers all work together to promote the party's policies.

The party is in favour of a free market economy, regulated in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.


How is Belgium constituted?

Many overseas observers think of Belgium as a mainly French-speaking country with a minority that speaks a 'Flemish' dialect related to Dutch. In fact, Flemings make up 60% of the population of Belgium, and their language is Dutch. There are 21 million Dutch-speakers in Europe, making them the sixth largest linguistic group in the European Union. Flemings live in Flanders, the northern part of Belgium. Wallonia, the southern part, is French-speaking. Brussels, the Belgian capital, is in Flanders and was originally a Dutch-speaking city. It was Frenchified in the 19th and 20th centuries, and now a majority of the city's inhabitants speak French. In addition, there has been a recent, large influx of European and non-European immigrants. The linguistic areas in Belgium are strictly defined: Flanders is Dutch-speaking and Wallonia is Francophone. Only Brussels is officially bilingual.

Why isn't Belgium fully bilingual?

During the period of the French occupation (after the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815) the Flemish middle class began to speak French. The brief reunification with the Netherlands (1815-1830) could not undo this. In 1830 Belgium was created in order to make a Francophone vassal state, which would be oriented completely towards France. Belgium was then governed by the Wallonian minority and the French-speaking Flemish elite. The majority of people in Flanders had no political power at all. It was only with great difficulty that the 'Flemish Movement' succeeded in saving Flanders' Dutch language and culture.

Flemish proposals to make Belgium completely bilingual were rejected by the Walloons. Most French speakers thought that they, as speakers of a 'universal language' had no need to learn Dutch. Unfortunately, many French-speakers still think this. To this day, many Francophones look down on Flanders and Flemish people with an almost racist contempt.

Several federal Ministers and some members of the Belgian royal family either do not speak Dutch or only speak it poorly. In Flemish schools, French is obligatory as a second language, with English and German taught as third and fourth languages. In Wallonia, on the other hand, many students choose to study English instead of Dutch as a second language. This means that Walloons are generally unfamiliar with Dutch culture.

Why federalism isn't the solution?

Eventually, universal suffrage made it possible for Flemings to translate their demographic majority into greater political power. Flanders' economic growth, especially after World War Two, increased the pressure on the Belgian establishment.

After 1970 the Belgian state moved towards federalism. But instead of dividing Belgium into the two regions of Flanders and Wallonia, politicians divided Belgium into four linguistic areas (Dutch, French, German and bilingual Brussels), three regions (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels) and three communities (Flemish, French and German). They said that this so-called "federalisation" was a concession to the Flemish, who had been clamouring for more autonomy. But in reality the introduction of "parity (50-50) power sharing" has effectively neutralised the Flemish majority. Despite Flanders' economic strength, French-speakers retain their political dominance and the Flemish continue to subsidise Wallonia. Moreover, the complicated structure of the Belgian state prevents efficient government. Flanders and Wallonia have different interests and different priorities. Due to the fundamentally flawed nature of the Belgian state framework, ethnic frictions will persist.

But what about "national solidarity" with Wallonia?

It is untrue to say that the Flemish people do not contribute to so-called "national solidarity". Annually, between 200 and 400 billion Belgian francs (five to ten billion Euros) flow from Flanders to Wallonia - proportionally more than the old West Germany invests in the former GDR. Wallonia receives a quarter of its income from this "national solidarity". Notwithstanding these enormous transfers, the economic cleavage between Flanders and Wallonia is increasing. This is the direct result of the statist policies of Wallonia, which has a tradition of incurring high debts, massive subsidisation and the employment of too many people in government.

One revealing illustration of the differences that exist between the political cultures in Flanders and Wallonia is the number of government Ministers in the two regions. The Flemish government has nine Ministers for six million Flemings. On the other hand, Wallonia and French-speaking Brussels residents, totalling fewer than four million, have two separate governments with a total of 17 Ministers, among which there are three Ministers of education (with different Ministers for primary education and secondary education!).

Another example should be adduced. Wallonia makes up about 30% of Belgium's population, but its share of exports is only 14%. Wallonia risks dragging Flanders down with it into Belgian bankruptcy. Wallonia is responsible for 60% of the public debt, which has increased to over 10,000 billion Belgian francs (about 250 billion Euros, or one million Belgian francs per capita). This is a European record. Belgium leads Europe in taxes.

Increasingly, Flemings are asking themselves: why is Flanders paying for Wallonia? So far as we are concerned, "solidarity" would be better realised within a wider European framework wherein richer European regions and countries would combine to help poorer regions and countries.

Flemish independence - the only solution

Politicians of the establishment Flemish parties, who are often too pragmatic, campaign for constitutional revisions and adjustments within the Belgian federal framework. But their proposals are routinely vetoed by the Walloons, for whom even the slightest modification of institutions constitutes an attack on their privileged positions.

The Vlaams Blok seeks the complete independence of Flanders, with Brussels as tye new state's bilingual capital. This independent Flanders will remain, of course, a part of the European Union. With its six million inhabitants and its internationally oriented economy, Flanders is comparable with other relatively small but modern, democratic and efficient states, such as Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Austria and Switzerland.

The 1905 split of the Scandinavian Union into Norway and Sweden and the 1992 split of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia prove that it is possible to transform dual federations into independent successor states in a peaceful, democratically legitimate and internationally acceptable fashion.

What would happen to Wallonia - and the royal family?

It is up to the Walloons to decide about their own future after the dissolution of Belgium. The most obvious scenarios are union with France or the creation of an independent Walloon state. In any case, we would seek to have the same amicable relations with Wallonia as we have presently with the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

This is impossible within the existing Belgian framework. Concern about the future of one family, even a royal one, should not jeopardise the fate of ten million people. The Vlaams Blok advocates a republic, because that is the most democratic form of government. Ultimately, however, it would be up to the first Flemish constitutional assembly to decide on its form of government.

Brussels as the bilingual capital of a free Flanders

Historically, Brussels was a Dutch-speaking city. Research shows that less than 5% of all preserved public documents written before 1500 were written in French. But during the French occupation (1794-1815) and after the creation of Belgium in 1830 public life was completely Frenchified. French was the only language used in education, government, the army and the judiciary. Anyone who wanted to have a career had to learn French.

Because of this social pressure and because of the dearth of Dutch-speaking education, many Flemings sent their children to French-speaking schools. The children of Flemish parents became bilingual. The grandchildren often became Francophone monoglots. In this way, the proportion of Dutch-speakers in Brussels shrank from 90% at the beginning of the 19th century to around 15% by the end of the 20th century. Now, the presence of large numbers of European and non-European foreign nationals increases the pressure on the Dutch-speaking minority. But we believe that Brussels should remain the capital of Flanders. Hundreds of thousands of Flemings work every day in Brussels. The economy of Brussels is very closely interwoven with the economy of the Flemish area around the city. Zaventem, the international airport of Brussels, is situated in Flemish territory. In an independent Flanders Brussels would retain its bilingual status. (A comparable situation is that presently existing in Helsinki, the bilingual capital of Finland.) The Blok conducts all of its Brussels campaigns in both Dutch and French.

What about French-speakers in Flanders?

Frenchification of Flanders has also been taking place outside Brussels. More and more French-speakers have been settling in the Flemish towns around Brussels. In six of those towns French-speakers receive so-called "facilities": they can address themselves in their own language to the authorities and French-speaking education is organised and paid for by Flanders. Intended as an means of helping French-speakers to assimilate into Flanders, these "facilities" are unfortunately being too often abused to try to make these towns French-speaking.

The Flemish authorities spend 200 million Belgian francs (five million Euros) annually on French education in Flanders. In contrast, Wallonia spends nothing on its considerable number of Flemish immigrants. In the whole of Wallonia there is only one Flemish school (in the once-Flemish town of Komen) that is able to survive only thanks to financial support from Flanders (and which has experienced illegal obstruction by the Wallonian authorities).

Here a difference in mentality is obvious: Flemings who move to Wallonia assimilate, whereas French-speakers who move to Flanders start making linguistic demands. As soon as French-speaking immigrants constitute the majority of the population in a Flemish town, they demand a transfer of that town to Wallonia or to the officially bilingual region of Brussels. In this respect - as in many other respects - the attitudes of Flemings and Walloons differ greatly.

Why shouldn't Brussels be the EU capital?

With fewer than one million inhabitants, Brussels is not very large. It is therefore unable to accommodate all of the institutions of the ever-expanding European Union. The Flemish towns near Brussels are also under pressure. European and other international officials find it easier to relate to the French-speaking community than to Dutch-speakers. But the increase in the number of French-speakers threatens to disturb the demographic and political balances within Brussels and within the Flemish towns around Brussels. The expansion of the European institutions in Brussels is no doubt good news for the construction lobby and financial institutions but ordinary Flemish men and women do not benefit in any way. We believe that the European presence in Brussels should therefore be slimmed down.

The party's position on the European Union

An independent Flanders would be a member state of the European Union. The European Union should be a confederation, whose members cooperate on economic matters, the fight against international crime, defence, foreign policy and other matters of common interest. Europe should be able to defend its territory and its interests on its own without help from the United States. We reject the creation of a European superstate as being too centralist and too bureaucratic.

The Blok supports the integration of central and eastern European countries into EU institutions, but such integration should be planned properly and take place at a controlled pace. One should take into account the enormous socioeconomic differences between EU member states and the states that are applying for admission. In addition, the free movement of people across borders has negative aspects: criminals have more escape routes and immigration becomes more difficult to control. Europe should make it clear that it will guarantee the sovereignty of these countries if they are threatened by resurgent Russian imperialism. The European Union should be limited to the countries that belong to European civilisation. Turkey is not a European country and therefore does not belong to the European Union. This of course does not mean that the European Union should not maintain good relations with both Russia and Turkey.

Flanders and the Netherlands

In the past Wallonia and the Belgian establishment has opposed all attempts at rapprochement between the people of Flanders and the people of The Netherlands. It is because of this that the Benelux area (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) has never developed properly. The Netherlands, of course, would obviously be the privileged partner of an independent Flanders. We belong to the same linguistic community; we live next to each other; we share the same history to a large extent and we have similar economic policies. Some would even say that we are the same people. The Vlaams Blok is in favour of close co-operation between the Netherlands and Flanders - amongst other things, to maintain Dutch as an official language within the European Union and, more generally, to defend the common interests and position of smaller member states.


Flanders - at the crossroads of cultures

Flanders is at the crossroads of cultures. Great nations, like Spain, France, England and Germany have made their mark on Flemish history. Today, Flanders is an outward-looking land with international ports and an economy oriented towards export. The Flemings are renowned for their linguistic abilities. In addition to their mother tongue, most Flemings speak one, two or even three other languages. Many Flemings hold senior positions in international organisations. In the average Fleming's living room can be found a TV set with 30 channels in nine different languages. Flemings, then, are undoubtedly very open towards other peoples and cultures.

But like other western European countries, Flanders is confronted with the problem of increasing immigration from outside Europe. About half of the population of Brussels is already of non-Belgian extraction, while the number of foreigners is growing very fast in cities like Antwerp, Mechelen, Ghent, Lokeren and St Niklaas. The party wishes to see a hospitable but recognisably Flemish Flanders. We do not wish to see our country degenerate into a collection of adjacent ethnic ghettoes.

What does the party propose?

The Vlaams Blok wants an open debate about the immigration issue. The population should be fully informed and be able to decide on the issue in a referendum.

Further features of our views on the immigration issue are:

Watertight immigration stop, among other things through re-examining family reunion; tighter control of false marriages, limitation of political asylum to Europeans; obligatory return of foreign students after they have finished their studies in Flanders.
Neutralize the demographic time bomb through pro family and pro child policies.
Break the taboo of crime by foreigners; repatriation of criminal foreigners.
End positive discrimination with respect to employment and social amenities.
Stop abuse of political asylum and repatriate illegal aliens and people whose application for asylum has been rejected.
Conduct a humane policy of return. This return should occur within the framework of a general development programme for Turkey and Northern Africa. These returnees, some of whom will be skilled youths, will receive Belgian funds, to be invested in the economy of their homeland. The Vlaams Blok wants to increase significantly the development funds for Northern Africa and Turkey. The economic growth of this area will benefit the local population and will decrease immigration pressure on Western Europe.
On citizenship

Some foreigners who live in Flanders will wish to remain here permanently. This state of affairs will of course always be possible so far as we are concerned. But acquisition of our citizenship should only be a reward for a successful immigration process. The party seeks to undo the new naturalisation law, which almost 'gives away' Belgian citizenship. This law, arguably the most lenient in the world, grants citizenship to foreigners after a stay of a mere three years in Belgium, without their having to prove that they speak Dutch or French or that they have otherwise adjusted to life in Belgium. Acquisition of citizenship should be more than just a formality.

On freedom of religion

The Vlaams Blok is, as a non-denominational party, a proponent of freedom of religion. Everybody in Flanders should be able to profess his religion. This does not mean that every religion has to be officially recognised, i.e. subsidized by the state. Islam should be practised feely in Flanders but the authorities should not recognise, i.e. subsidize, it.

L'economia e la netta differenza tra aree dello "stesso Paese",il punto che ci accumuna di + e differenzia TUTTI gli altri partiti indipendentisti d'Europa da Lega e Vlaams Blok

The tensions between Flanders and Wallonia are especially clear in the economic domain. In the 19th century there was an enormous difference between poor and agrarian Flanders and the richer, industrial Wallonia. Since the Second World War the situation has altered completely. Flanders is now a flourishing region that concentrates very much on exports. The Flemish economy is supported by small and medium-sized enterprises, which operate with great dynamism and flexibility. On the other hand, the Wallonian economy is based mainly on some very large but antiquated companies. Still the federal government imposes a common economic policy on both regions which ignores these differences and handicaps Flemish businesses. Those who desire to strengthen the Flemish economy should opt for greater Flemish autonomy and its logical corollary, political independence. Only then will the Flemish economic lion be able to break out of the Belgian cage.

Here are some of our economic policies:

Flemish economic and fiscal autonomy. Flanders should be able to dispose of its own money and be able to conduct its own economic policy.
Lower salary costs.
Promotion of permanent education and high quality education: education remains the best guarantee of employment.
Reduction of administrative bureaucracy for businesses: Flemish enterprises should remain in Flemish hands.
Reduction of VAT on house building.
Profit-sharing by employers: in addition to his or her basic wages, employees should receive extra income proportionate to the profit made by their employers.
Protection of smaller shopkeepers against unfair competition by new mega-chains.

Anche se ovviamente Lega Nord e Vlaams Blok NON sono uguali sia nei toni che nelle azioni...