July 19, 2024

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Political Week: Gatz bites the dust, and Maron saves face in the run-up to the elections

Political Week: Gatz bites the dust, and Maron saves face in the run-up to the elections

Members of the Brussels government will not march in parade or shoulder to shoulder ahead of the June 9 elections. After the dispute between Bernard Clerfayt (Davy) and Ans Perssons (Vooruit.brussels) last week, Alain Maron (Ecolo, Livemélio) has stepped on the legs of his fellow liberal Sven Gatz (Open VLD, Economy and Budget) in recent days.

It’s all about a possible appeal by the Brussels government against the environmental permit recently granted to the airport by Flemish Minister Zuhal Demir (N-VA). This includes fewer overnight flights on weekends, but an increase in the number of flights. “Maron disputes this statement, but was met with resistance from GATS when the appeal was discussed,” says Van Gars. “The decision must normally be made unanimously, but Maron exploits a certain exception to do so on his own. Even a major outcry from Open VLD.”

For example, Liberal MP VanHingel believes that Maroun is playing the “electoral” card, thus endangering federal institutions. Van Jaars: “The law stipulates that a minister can act alone in certain cases, for example if he wants to file a complaint within his powers. But another minister can raise this point. This is what happened now, yesterday in the Council of Ministers.” Sven Gatz returned the complaint to the Council of Ministers, and here opinions differ: according to Gatz, the unanimity rule applies again. According to Maroun, who requested a legal memorandum from a law firm, this is not the case.

The talk is about constitutional specialists, but Prime Minister Vervoort (PS) has put himself in Maroun’s wheel. According to Van Jaars, it appears that the Brussels region will already appeal against the airport’s environmental permit. “So Gats is biting the dust, which will allow Maron to tell his voters that he at least tried to stop night flights.”

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Installments of 30 million euros

Finally, we should take a moment to consider the government’s decision to grant a €150 million loan to a struggling housing company in Brussels. This loan has been moot for a long time, especially when Clerfait slammed the brakes after the Socialist Party partially torpedoed his animal welfare law. On Thursday, Clerfait finally surrendered.

“The need is so great,” Van Jaars says. “The Brussels Regional Social Housing Company can no longer pay bills and wages. Clerfait is showing good management here, but the housing company will not simply take this loan either. It will be paid in installments of 30 million euros. In a few days after weeks, the housing company will have to The housing company has to come up with a financial plan again, the relevant Minister of State Ben Hammou (PS) was not right across the board, and Clerfait can finally save face in the run-up to the elections.

The government is now turning to its ongoing work: key files such as the Animal Welfare Act or the Good Life Act have been shelved. Van Gaars: “We can no longer expect major decisions.”