“GLB has been learning Flemish for two years, without success…”

The poster is as sulphurous as it is intriguing. This Thursday evening, the president of the MR faces the leader N-VA in a debate-conference organized by the mayor of Jurbise, Jacqueline Galant. Buzz guaranteed, welcome committee, punch-lines galore, Theo Francken installs us in his office in Lubbeek, near Louvain, to preface the “match”.

Would you say that Georges-Louis is a friend or a colleague?

(Smile and long silence). Uh, I like it. We have the same ideas on a lot of issues. I find it nice.

So there will be no debate tonight, rather connivance?

Yes, but there are also issues on which we still disagree.

Tell us how GLB is perceived in Flanders. He is sometimes criticized for his strategy, to seduce the Flemings to be politically unavoidable.

He is quite direct in his opinions and Flanders likes that. It is perhaps surprising for Wallonia. In Flanders we appreciate him but… he doesn’t speak Dutch.

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That’s a tackle? You know he learns it.

Yes, but he’s been saying that for two years… To no avail.

On nuclear you have the same ideas, you are pro nuclear but on immigration? We are in the midst of a crisis, we saw these images of migrants sleeping in tents in Brussels. Are you like the MR, in favor of the creation of additional places?

I want us to change the model, to be inspired by Great Britain, for example.

You know that the English are being slapped on the knuckles by the entire international community because they want to “turn off the tap” and “stop the asylum”.

I don’t care, I want to close the taps. Regular migration, no problem. It is illegal migration that must end.

Let’s get back to your friend Georges-Louis. He is Belgian. Some would like to refederalize skills like health to make it more logical. Wouldn’t you also be a little Belgian suddenly by… logic?

No, I’m not from Belgium. I don’t want 9 ministers of health, it’s true. I want a Minister of Health in Flanders, that’s all.

Georges-Louis, do you think he’s really from Belgium or is that just posturing?

I don’t know… (long silence). I have to ask him.

Your smile and silence seem to say it’s opportunistic.

I think there may be electoral reasons.

This evening, the Setca announces a welcoming committee at the entrance of the room. Are you going to Jurbise scared?

I don’t have a problem with people protesting for ideas. I am not afraid but I am alert. Anyway, Jacqueline Galant promised me that the debate would take place in a cool atmosphere.

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