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Belgian PM reshuffles cabinet after Flemish coalition partner withdraws

10 December 2018 10:04 496

ASTANA. KAZINFORM - The prime minister of Belgium on Sunday reorganized his cabinet by replacing the members of a nationalist Flemish party that has decided to withdraw from the government coalition over disagreements on an international migration pact, EFE reports.

Charles Michel met with King Philippe to confirm the resignations of the ministers and secretaries of state belonging to the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), a conservative party advocating for the northern region of Flanders' secession from the rest of the country that has rescinded its alliance with the ruling Christian Democratic and Flemish (DC&V) and Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open VLD) parties.

The N-VA officials who have stepped down include the until-now Interior Minister Jan Jambon, Finance Minister Johan Van Overtvedlt, Defense Minister Sander Loons and the secretaries of state for asylum and migration and equality, Theo Francken and Zuhal Demir, respectively.

Michel appointed the foreign trade secretary, Pieter de Crem (CD&V), to lead the interior and security ministry; Foreign Minister Didier Reynders to also head defense and put Deputy PM and Telecommunications Minister Alexander De Croo in charge of finance.

The N-VA remains strongly opposed to the United Nations-backed Global Compact for Migration agreement that is expected to be adopted at the end of an upcoming two-day summit in Marrakech, Morocco.

The Flemish nationalists had warned that if Michel were to travel to Morocco with the intention of signing on to the 34-page document, they would withdraw from the government coalition.

"It's way too pro-migration," Francken had said before resigning as secretary of state. "It doesn't have the nuance that it needs to have to also comfort European citizens."

The now ex-minister added that his party wanted "nothing to do with it."

The Belgian parliament, however, on Thursday approved the non-binding migration agreement at the request of Michel, who is set to travel later in the day to the North African city.

Both Bulgaria and Slovakia have announced they would not sign the international pact, while the United States administration of President Donald Trump said last year that its contents contravened U.S. immigration policies.


Keywords: Politics, World News, Europe,