Brussels Leaders Clash Over Future of Good Move Plan

Sarhan Basem

Brussels (Brussels Morning) – The leader of the Francophone liberal MR party Georges-Louis Bouchez is persisting in his attack on the Good Move plan while lashing out at Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt and her plans for the Brussels Government.

In Brussels, the largest Dutch-speaking party (Groen) and the largest French-speaking party (MR) objected to each other when it came to the Good Move plan – creating mobility a make-or-break moment in the region’s government formation process. 

How Does Bouchez Intend to Challenge the Good Move Plan?

“We will no longer leave mobility to Dutch speakers. I have a number of solutions to bury Good Move,” Bouchez stated on LN24 last night. “I would like to remind Ms Van den Brandt that she is proud of her great success in the Dutch-speaking council – which concerns four seats. MR has 20.”

The liberals have been striking the plan almost since the greens presented it. Bouchez – whose party won the most votes in the Francophone part of Brussels and is therefore in charge of creating the French-speaking majority in the Regional Parliament – is apparently still in campaigning mode.

Why is Bouchez Criticizing Mobility Minister Van den Brandt?

Bouchez “requested” Van den Brandt to resemble her personal score with the majority of the French-speaking nominees. “Looking at the numbers, her score puts her at the level of the number 19 or 20 on our list. She could start toning it down a little.”

However, this statement is false. In absolute numbers, Van den Brandt’s score (8,361 votes) is almost as elevated as that of number three on the MR list (8,867 votes). Moreover, this does not take into account that the Dutch-speaking electorate in Brussels is much less than the French-speaking one.

“[Groen] have already held Brussels hostage with Good Move. Do they want to hold the city hostage institutionally as well? I know there are other ways to bury Good Move,” Bouchez said. “We won with a clear commitment. Van den Brandt must also accept the mathematical reality. It is called being a democrat.” According to Bouchez, it is also feasible to bypass parliament. “So I do have solutions to put an end to Good Move. I can be creative,” he stated.

Van den Brandt, who is overseeing the talks to form a majority in the Dutch-speaking side of the Brussels Government, commented that forming a government should done by talking to each other, “not by making big news in the press.”

Will Brussels’ Mobility Plan Survive Political Maneuvering?

“Georges-Louis Bouchez is from Mons. He must institute a Walloon Government, not involve himself in the Brussels formation discussions. In Brussels, we fought so that the people of Brussels could manage themselves,” Van den Brandt stated. She hopes Bouchez will let the head of the MR Brussels list, David Leisterh, take his place. “You will not reach an agreement by humiliating your majority partners,” she added. “I have the impression that, despite all the big declarations, Georges-Louis Bouchez doesn’t give a damn about Brussels.”

However, Brussels has “real issues” that “must be taken seriously,” she emphasised, calling on all parties to “take up their responsibilities to form a government.”

How Might Bouchez’s Strategy Impact Brussels Mobility Initiatives?

Van den Brandt also called for shifting away from the “symbol” that Good Move has become for those who criticized it and instead remember what it is really around. “What is Good Move? It is about offering alternatives, more public transportation, road safety, and air quality. That is what we are discussing.”If the party leaders could sit around a table for serious conversations without making “big declarations in front of the cameras,” Van den Brandt stated that resolutions for the remaining problems could be found.

“We all settle on the objectives. We want our children to have pure air to breathe and better road safety, and we don’t want to be punched in traffic jams. The ‘how’ is now the debate.”

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Sarhan Basem is Brussels Morning's Senior Correspondent to the European Parliament. With a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, Sarhan brings a unique blend of linguistic finesse and analytical prowess to his reporting. Specializing in foreign affairs, human rights, civil liberties, and security issues, he delves deep into the intricacies of global politics to provide insightful commentary and in-depth coverage. Beyond the world of journalism, Sarhan is an avid traveler, exploring new cultures and cuisines, and enjoys unwinding with a good book or indulging in outdoor adventures whenever possible.