Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Nieuw‐Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA)

The N-VA are a Flemish Nationalist party from whom I believe Plaid Cymru can learn a lot on how to sell their message. First of all I think they have an excellent website, colourful and informative. Secondly they have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section which CLEARLY sets out the N-VA's ideology. I have copied two questions and answers to illustrate the point:
Is the N-VA a Nationalist party?

The N-VA is a Flemish nationalist party, but our nationalism is a healthy mixture of both civil and cultural elements. Our focus is on creating a community, and we want to bring this about in an inclusive manner. Every individual can become a member of our community, on the condition that they respect a number of basic rules of our democracy as well as community values and standards.

In Belgium, it might appear to be a problem between two ethnic groups, Flemings versus French-speakers. But this is not the case. The “Belgian problem” is not a problem between people, but a problem of structures. In the 20th century, Belgium gradually split into two different democracies, but the institutions did not change along with this evolution to a sufficient degree. Or as European Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in 2009: “België is in feite een permanente diplomatieke conferentie.” [Belgium is in fact a permanent diplomatic conference.] Flanders and Wallonia must, as a result, receive as much autonomy as possible so that they can each carry out a policy that is suited to their own community.

Does the N-VA want Belgium to end?

The N-VA doesn’t want a revolution and it is not looking to secede from Belgium. We are, however, striving for more democratic and more efficient structures. We want to take this step by step. We believe in a gradual development where increasingly more competences are transferred to Flanders and Europe and where the federal level gradually disappears. Our final target is indeed an independent Flanders as a European Member State, but the progression to reach it is gradual and must occur in a democratic manner.

In rebuilding the party Plaid Cymru need to have clear and unambigious messages for the people of Wales as the N-VA have for the people of Flanders.


Syd Morgan said...

Glad you've posted this. It corrects the vicious and inaccurate piece on N-VA in Llais y Sais when Frieda Brepoels MEP spoke at the 2010 Plaid Cymru conference and which they refused to correct.

Perhaps its helpful for new readers to point out too that N-VA and Plaid Cymru are in the same European Free Alliance group in the European parliament, of which Jill Evans MEP is president.

This group works constantly on independence and a whole range of progressive issues, often opposed by the British nationalists in the Labour,Tory and UKIP parties.

Anonymous said...

Syd is right. The Western Mail (following a Labour 'tip-off'?) published the usual lazy cliches deliberately confusing N-VA with Vlaams Belang/Blok.

However, N-VA do see a little circumspect about the straight forward question 'Does the N-VA want Belgium to end?'. The answer is 'yes', although they say so in a very round about way!