Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Flemish Interest (Dutch: Vlaams Belang) is a Belgian political party. It presents itself as right-wing, but its opponents see it as far-right (see an article by Eric Defoort for one view on this subject).
Flemish Interest was formed in 2004 by members of the now defunct Flemish Block (Dutch: Vlaams Blok), which was condemned by a court for permanent incitation to discrimination and racism in November 2004. Members of the Flemish Interest party and some other conservatives such as the law professor Matthias Storme see it as a political trial inspired by the Belgian establishment, which would not have been possible were it not for amendments to laws carried out in the preceding years.
Changes to the party platform have been made to allow it to comply with the law and the motto of Flemish Block, Eigen volk eerst (Dutch: Our own people first), has been dropped.
Flemish Interest, and the former Flemish Block is a very divisive issue in Belgium. One response to Flemish Interest has been attempts to cut state funding for the party. However, this is viewed by some as being counter-productive.
Some of the main points in it's platform include:
- Independence for Flanders. One stated reason for this is financial transfers between Flanders and Wallonia (the other part of Belgium) which Flemish Interest considers to be unjustified. Flemish Interest also worries about consequences for the Belgian employment cost.
- Increase child benefits including provisions which allow one parent, if both employed, to remain at home for the benefit of education for their child or children. This is aimed at increasing the birth rate.
- Reform of the pension system based upon investment funds .
- Preserve the current education system. The 2003 Pisa Report places it as best out of those it reviewed.
- Block Turkey from joining the European Union.
- Repeal anti-racism and anti-discrimination legislation on the grounds of free speech.
- Neo-liberal economic policies, such as limiting government intervention. It also advocates a flat tax.
It has dropped the policy of the return of all non-European immigrants in favour of one which states that only those who fail to assimilate must return. It also dropped a policy advocating a federation with the Netherlands in favour of closer co-operation.
Some members, such as Roeland Raes have been accused of being nazi sympathizers. See The Guardian article 'Belgium's far right party in Holocaust controversy ' for more information. However there are conflicting sources, such as (in Dutch) this Standaard.be article. Roeland Raes was charged with historical revisionism in accordance with the Belgian Negationism Law , specifically for uttering the following controversial sentence: “whether it was planned (before the war, thus ahead of the Wannsee Conference) that they should all die during the war is another question”, however he has not been found guilty. During the interview, Raes also had no doubts about the systematic persecution and deportation of the Jews by the Germans.
- Gerolf Annemans
- Lode Claes
- Frank Vanhecke
- Filip Dewinter
- Karel Dillen
- Koen Dillen , son of Karel Dillen
- Roeland Raes
- Yves Buysse
- Official web page
- Official Vlaams Belang party manifesto
- Vdare.com: Anti-Immigration Party Banned In Belgium November 09, 2004
- MajorityRights: The Blok is dead. Long live the Vlaams Belang? November 09, 2004
- BBC: Blow to Belgium's far right 9 November, 2004
- Telegraph: Flemish party banned as racist by Belgium's high court 10 November, 2004
- The Washington Times: Analysis: Makeover for Flemish far-right November 15, 2004
- The Mail on Sunday: A new war in the fields of Flanders 19 November, 2004
- The New York Times: Fear of Islamists Drives Growth of Far Right in Belgium February 12, 2005
- The Washington Times: The emerging ‘Eurabia’ February 18, 2005
- The New York Times: Europe's Jews Seek Solace on the Right February 20, 2005
- MajorityRights: Jews moving Rightwards February 25, 2005
- TIME: Life On The Front Lines: In Antwerp, the far right is facing off against muslims. Who's winning? Vol.165 No.9 | February 28, 2005
- The New York Sun: Slap at European Jewry Prompts Backlash March 3, 2005
- Vlaams Belang: America discovers us 23.02.2005
- De Standaard: My kingdom for an alternative. Schwarzenegger, Bush and Flemish Interest. by Geert Buelens (uni. Berkeley and Antwerp ) March 18, 2005
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