In Belgium, elected officials and political parties don’t count when they spend public money

Benelux letters

The head of the Walloon regional council has finally had to relinquish his post after an expensive trip to Dubai. The parliamentary clerk is also in full force, and at a hefty fee – also accused of harassment and suspended. The renovation of the Walloon parliament building cost 46 million euros, four times the original estimate. Not to forget the €3m tunnel, which will prevent elected officials from crossing the two or three tens of meters that separate their car parks from their offices in the open air.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, a plan was revealed that would result in lifetime pensions being paid to top regional administration officials who have worked for at least ten years. And, to make this great unpacking even more difficult, Belgian parties are spending around 5 million euros in 2022 to secure their presence on Facebook and Instagram. The sum was drawn from a generous €75m grant from the Belgian government to these parties, which provides three-quarters of their income. This amount constitutes a European record in terms of the number of inhabitants and allows, for example, the Flemish nationalist organization N-VA to invest in real estate.

The party dedicated to making Belgium disappear in favor of the Flanders-Walloon “coalition” gets 11 million euros a year from the Belgian government… On the other side of the linguistic “border”, PS gets 8.6 million euros. And, overall, the party’s assets have quintupled in two decades.

“The Perfect Escape Art”

Tom Van Grieken, leader of the far-right Vlaams Belang party, is a separatist and xenophobic and will be able to spend more than €363,000 in 2022 alone to secure his presence on social networks despite the 1989 The law on the financing of political parties adopted in # was designed to exclude extremist organizations from its purview. The success of Vlaams Belang in Flanders quickly dispelled the rosy idea that, like everyone else, it could conduct a kind of permanent electoral campaign and publicize it, thanks to public funding.

In fact, the law stipulates that each formation with at least one representative is entitled to a donation: a lump sum (approximately 185,000 euros) with variable and substantial increases (3.17 euros per vote acquired). If the party has at least one senator, it receives 74,000 euros in addition to 1.27 euros per vote. Enough, for example, for the Belgian Labor Party (PTB, the radical left) – the great destroyer of the capitalist system – of which Garfarm is undoubtedly its highest incarnation – to pay Facebook and Instagram over €248,000 a year to be featured on their networks.

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