Jambon: ‘I cannot say a wrong word about our king’

Jambon: ‘I cannot say a wrong word about our king’
Jambon: ‘I cannot say a wrong word about our king’

Freewheeling (1)

“Eating something tasty together helps if negotiations are difficult,” the Prime Minister testifies Jan Jambon (N-VA) in the Newspaper of West Flanders. “A glass of wine should also be possible, but more is not beneficial. I have seen it at the federal level, during the 2010 negotiations, that whiskey was served as early as 4 p.m. Then all seriousness disappeared and people started shouting and freewheeling.”

Freewheeling (2)

One glass of wine can also be enough to freewheel. “I am an orangist, so I would think a reunification of Flanders and the Netherlands would be a good thing,” says Jambon. “Flanders and the Netherlands together, what an important power we would be in Europe! By the way: there are also many in the Netherlands who think this way. When I chat with Dutch contacts over a good glass of wine, these dreams sometimes surface.”

Freewheeling (3)

In a first step, Jambon is in favor of Flemish independence. “But I fear that would now be a rash adventure, because there is little support for it among the population.” So he is in favor of the confederalism that the N-VA has been trying to realize fruitlessly for years. But he has hope. “The PS and the MR are finally starting to make the same analysis, namely that Belgium is the cause of the blockages. That is a big difference from, say, ten years ago. However, there is no consensus on the solution yet.”

Freewheeling (4)

The conversation with Jambon takes place in the castle of Loppem, the residence of Albert I after the First World War and where Catholics, liberals and socialists made a deal about voting rights outside the Constitution. A place where freewheeling was elevated to an art. Jambon, while freewheeling, does not prefer to make a deal with a king. “We are republicans, so in an ideal world the monarchy will disappear. But of all the problems we face today, this is the least. By the way, I can’t say the wrong thing about our king. When my father died last year, he called me personally. That says something about him.”

Freewheeling (5)

Now that we’re freewheeling. “If politics were to disappear, I would like to study art history. But I realize that the longer I put that off, the harder it becomes. Am I creative myself? Unfortunately not, no. I like to sing.” But apparently not very well, because he immediately adds: “If I had to choose one talent, I would have liked to be able to sing. Music can really touch me.”


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