By Rodolphe Van Nuffel, Brussels office
A couple of days ago, the Walloon Region and the French Community have each set up their Government.
The Walloon Region
54 days after the elections, on 21st of July,(which is also the Belgian national holiday), the left wing party, the Parti Socaliste (PS) and centrist party the Centre Démocrate Humaniste (cdH ) agreed to share power in the Walloon regional government. The opposition will be composed of the Mouvement Réformateur (MR – liberals), Ecolo (greens), and Les Fédéralistes démocrates francophones (FDF – right wing whose aim is fighting for the linguistic rights of French-speakers). Paul Magnette, also mayor of Charleroi replaces Rudi Demotte (PS) and becomes Minister President of Wallonia.
The new Walloon Government will focuson three areas: innovation, simplification and grouping, outlined below.
- Innovation to modernise the economy
- Simplification leading to budget cuts on government spending and collection. SMEs will be offered a Small Business Act to reduce the administrative burdens.
- Gathering all the Walloon forces for a healthy economy: employers, social forces, political stakeholders or associations
The The members of Walloon Government are:
- Paul Magnette,PS, Minister-President
- Jean-Claude Marcourt, PS, Vice Minister President and Minister of Economy, Industry, Innovation and Digitalisation
- Paul Furlan, PS, Minister of Local Authorities, Cities, Housing and Energy
- Eliane Tillieux, PS, Minister of Employment and Education
- Christophe Lacroix, PS, Minister of Budget, Public Service and Administrative Reform
- Maxime Prévot healthcare, PS, Vice Minister President, and Minister of Public of healthcare and public works
- Carlo Di Antonio, PS, Minister of Environment, Planning, Mobility and Transport, Airports and animal welfare
- René Collin, cdH, Minister of Agriculture, Nature, Rural Tourism and Sports Facilities
Just as the Walloon Government, the Francophone Community Government is also a coalition between Parti Socialiste (PS) and Centre Démocrate Humaniste (cdH), led by Rudy Demotte (PS), who formally chaired the Walloon government. The Walloon-Brussels Federation, which is the official name for the francophone community will focus on Education and (Youth) Employment. Regarding education a mandatory exam could close high school and unemployed youngsters will have the opportunity to be hired if still unemployed 18 months after graduation.
The members of the Francophone Community Government are:
- Rudy Demotte, PS, Minister-President
- Jean-Claude Marcourt, PS, Vice Minister President and Minister for Higher Education, Research and Media
- André Flahaut, PS, Minister of Budget, Public Service and Administrative Reform
- Isabelle Simonis, PS, Minister of Social Welfare, Youth, Women’s Rights and Equal Opportunities
- Rachid Madrane, PS, Minister to Youth Aid, Houses of Justice and Promotion of Brussels
- Joëlle Milquet, cdH, Minister of Education and Culture
- René Collin, cdH, Sports Minister
Contrary as to what happened in Flanders, the Walloon Region and the French Community did not merge institutions, as both the Walloon Region and Francophone community have their own Minister Presidents and government. Regional Governments have wide ranging responsibilities in areas including economy, employment, agriculture, water policy, housing, public works, energy, transport (except Belgian Railways), the environment, town and country planning, nature conservation, credit, foreign trade, supervision of the provinces, communes and intercommunal utility companies). Since the Communities are based on the concept of “language” and language is “dependent on the individual”, the Community is responsible for cultural maters (theatre, libraries, audiovisual media, etc.), education and the use of languages. Besides culture, Communities are also responsible for health policy (curative and preventive medicine) and assistance to individuals (protection of youth, social welfare, aid to families, immigrant assistance services, etc.). Remaining competences are related to scientific research and some international relations, (limited to what they are responsible for)The 6th State Reform entering into force as from July 2014, has transferred a large number of Federal competences to communities and regions.