BRUSSELS - In the European Parliament, Vlaams Belang has a very different narrative than the social image the party wants to project in Flanders. Even in Flanders, by the way, this social narrative should be taken with a grain of salt.

After all, the focus is on the working Fleming whom the party wants to give "value for money" while profiting benefit recipients must be dealt with more harshly. The social benefits that the party wants to grant here also do not apply to Walloons and migrants who are significantly worse off.

In the European Parliament, for example, the three VB elected members oppose decisions on the introduction of minimum wages. According to the VB, this is strictly a national competence, but the resolutions voted on so far do not in any way prevent member states from legislating on this themselves and limit themselves to a framework to check whether it is adequate. For the same reason, in the recent divide, the party opposed recommendations to combat homelessness in the EU.

The party also systematically opposes anything detrimental to businesses. This is the case, for example, with regard to a decision by the EU Parliament to require companies with more than 100 employees to disclose pay on demand in order to expose a possible gender pay gap. The introduction of a duty of care requiring companies to protect the environment and respect human rights in their operations was also rejected.

Any decision that wants to crack down on tax fraud also finds no mercy. "Wealth and capital gains are already heavily taxed. Skimming more and more money for the benefit of an all-powerful state. That is a leftist recipe that we do not like," Filip De Man, MEP for Vlaams Belang, said in plenary on July 12, 2023. In its election program in 2019, the party showed a very different sound. "Strong shoulders have the social and moral duty to support our community more," said the party, which at the time opposed a "flat tax" for that reason to favor the rich.

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Luc Vanheerentals

Luc Vanheerentals is a Belgian freelance journalist.
€1.500 allocated on 31/08/2023.