A nationalist party in Belgium has demanded that the country holds a referendum on the EU migration pact. (EPA-EFE/OLIVIER MATTHYS)


Belgian party demands referendum on EU Migration Pact


A nationalist party in Belgium has demanded that the country holds a referendum on the European Union Migration Pact.

Vlaams Belang, currently the most popular party in Belgium, has accused the country’s ruling coalition of agreeing to the Pact without first consulting the general populace.

“The only thing that the Migration Pact will bring about is more migration,” party leader Tom Van Grieken said in a statement given to Brussels Signal.

“It is time that people finally let the population speak for themselves: do they want more or less migration?”

Despite the party campaigning for complete Flemish independence from the Belgian State, Van Grieken added that the referendum should be held across the country’s French, Dutch and German-speaking regions.

Such a plebiscite would be only the second nationwide referendum in the country’s history, with the previous one held in the wake of the Second World War leading to significant tensions between ethnic Walloons and Flemings.

“It is inherent to the artificial nature of this country that the mere thought of a simple referendum already leads to fear,” Van Grieken claimed. “However, it is the best way to strengthen democracy and effectively give citizens a say in issues that are very important in society.”

He added that if the federal government proved unwilling to hold such a vote, the devolved Flemish Government should organise a regional referendum instead.

“The Constitution creates a clear framework for a regional referendum,” Van Grieken insisted. “It is time that Flanders actually uses the powers it has.”

Vlaams Belang’s call for a vote on the EU Migration Pact comes after the Polish Government announced it was planning a similar referendum on the topic.

Slated for October 15, Poles are to be presented with the specific question: “Do you support the admission of thousands of illegal immigrants from the Middle East and Africa under the forced relocation mechanism imposed by the European bureaucracy?”

The phrasing reflects a common criticism from those on the European Right that the Pact – which is ostensibly designed to cut illegal immigration – merely aims to make it easier for migrants to enter the bloc legally.

“The EU is doing everything it can to attract millions of migrants and is also openly saying that it wants to move in the direction of more migration,” Tom Vandendriessche, an MEP for Vlaams Belang and virulent critic of Brussels’ planned new migrant deal, told Brussels Signal.

“They want to transform illegal into legal migration,” he added. “That is simply deliberate repopulation and is at odds with what the population is asking for.”