New proposals made by the biggest party in Belgium’s coalition government the New Flemish Alliance has led to divisions at a time when parties in government need to work together in the face of terrorist threats, especially in the wake of the attacks that targeted Brussels in March and that killed 32 people and injured 300 others. The head of the Christian Democratic and Flemish party Wouter Beke described the proposals put forward by the party’s coalition partner the New Flemish Alliance as “random thoughts” during a television interview.
The New Flemish Alliance has recently launched a significant number of proposals that remain controversial such as the prohibition of the burkini, limiting freedom of expression and the establishment of a state of emergency in the event of a crisis. The Christian Democratic party is said to be tired of the New Flemish Alliance’s “foolish ideas”.
In remarks to the Belgian channel VRT, Beke said that “What people expect from a party in government is collective decision-making and the implementation of these decisions harmoniously. This is what the Minister of Justice Koen Geens from the Christian Democratic and Flemish party and the Minister of Interior Jan Jambon from the New Flemish Alliance have been doing in the field of security. It is an absolute priority. What does not help, is the launch of “random thoughts, one after the other”.” According to him, citizens expect “structural measures” such as those recently taken to enhance security.
This comes after the New Flemish Alliance party, which is the biggest party in Belgium’s coalition government, finished preparing a proposal for the establishment of special courts to try suspects in terrorism cases. The nationalist party is hoping to create a more unified and centralised approach to decisions regarding terrorism. According to channel VRT and other media sources focussing on the matter, the federal public prosecutor specialises in the field of terrorism. However, the New Flemish Alliance party supports the creation of a similar institution for courts where judges can specialise in terrorism cases which would make decision making simple.