Coalition PS-MR-Ecolo in French-speaking Belgium is about to burst: what’s going on?

Coalition PS-MR-Ecolo in French-speaking Belgium is about to burst: what’s going on?
Coalition PS-MR-Ecolo in French-speaking Belgium is about to burst: what’s going on?

What’s the problem?

Since an education reform in 2022, the so-called decree Paysage, students in the French community only have two more years to acquire their first 60 credits. After five years they must have obtained their bachelor’s degree.

After student protests – the association of French-speaking students FeF says that 70,000 students should stop their studies – PS and Ecolo, the two left-wing parties in the majority, now want to weaken that reform. They propose to partly postpone the reform for one year to avoid universities and colleges losing subsidies for what they say are thousands of students who do not obtain their credits on time.

What does the third coalition partner MR say?

However, this is not to the liking of the third party in government, the liberal MR. The liberal Minister of Higher Education Françoise Bertieaux, among others, is talking about a move inspired by the upcoming elections and does not want to budge. In the Education Committee, Bertieaux said on Tuesday that “in light of this non-agreed initiative by the government partners” she is no longer able “to answer on behalf of the government”.

Her party chairman Georges-Louis Bouchez stated in an interview on Tuesday evening that the issue weighs heavily enough to bring down the government if necessary. Bouchez is particularly upset that PS and Ecolo submitted a new proposal to weaken the reform on Tuesday, without consulting the MR – which nevertheless provides the competent minister.

Minister of Education Françoise Bertieaux (MR).Image Photo News

What should happen next?

Prime Minister Pierre-Yves Jeholet, also from the MR, wants to see in the coming hours and days whether the government of the French community is still working, he said this afternoon in the plenary meeting of parliament in Brussels after a question from opposition party Les Engagés.

Jeholet still hopes to find a compromise, but immediately added that he will not deny the text “which was adopted barely two years ago.” In doing so, he immediately narrows the playing field for a possible comparison.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Bénédicte Linard (Ecolo), the government will meet tomorrow morning.

What if there is no solution?

Like all regional parliaments in Belgium, that of the French community is also a so-called legislative parliament. This means that parliament cannot be dissolved prematurely and the entire legislature must be terminated.

Early elections are therefore not possible, and if no solution is found, the PS-MR-Ecolo coalition appears to be de facto paralyzed until the June 9 elections. After that, the government will continue to function as a caretaker until a new government is formed.

The article is in Dutch


Tags: Coalition PSMREcolo Frenchspeaking Belgium burst whats


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