A government crisis threatens in Flanders after the nitrogen negotiations failed. The Flemish government parties N-VA, Open VLD and CD&V failed to reach an agreement on nitrogen emissions last weekend.
Just like in the Netherlands, nitrogen emissions in Flanders must be reduced. The Flemish ministers negotiated these new rules last night. Prime Minister Jan Jambon (N-VA) blames CD&V for the lack of an agreement because, according to him, that party blocks any proposal. Yesterday he put an “ultimate proposal” on the table with the Christian Democrats.
Jambon says that a situation such as in the Netherlands must be prevented. “At all costs we must avoid a permit stop such as the Netherlands has.”
But CD&V does not agree with the proposal and believes that it is up to Jambon to come to a solution. “The file as it stands now offers too little perspective for young farmers,” says Deputy Prime Minister Hilde Crevits. “A lot of farming families are in trouble and we want them to have a future.”
CD&V Minister of Agriculture Jo Brouns said this morning on VRT radio that if it is up to the party, negotiations will continue. “We want to continue working as we have in recent months,” he said. “The nitrogen dossier is too important for young farmers, for nature and for our economy.”
According to Brouns, he does not feel that Jambon would rather lose his party than be rich. “That is being spun, but the Prime Minister has not said that at any time. Yesterday was indeed a difficult moment, but at no time was it said: ‘We are pushing you out.’ So we continue to work constructively: we want to keep looking for solutions, even in difficult circumstances.”
The crisis in the Flemish cabinet can have major consequences for national politics. The cabinet may fall, but early elections are not possible at the Flemish level. So we have to wait for the national elections, which are next year.
Last Friday, more than 2000 Flemish farmers drove to Brussels to protest against the nitrogen policy of the Flemish government.