Bellot’s ‘federal mobility plan’ torpedoed instantly
Minister of Mobility Bellot’s plan to coordinate mobility issues in Belgium on a federal level is ‘torpedoed’ immediately by all regional levels.
Flemish Mobility Minister, Ben Weyts, Brussels’ Minister, Pascal Smet, and Walloon minister, Carlo di Antonio, are not pleased with the proposition of federal minister Bellot to create a coordination agency between the different regions.
Ben Weyts: “Bellot wants coordination? That’s what I’m already asking for ages…”
“It would be nice if minister Bellot would stop all his law suits against Flemish decisions to increase traffic safety”, says Weyts. “After that, the NMBS (Belgian national rail company) could be more lenient to integrate our proposals of tariffs for Brussels and the suburban area around it.”
Pascal Smet: “This is ‘la Belgique à papa’ that imposes things on the regions”
“It’s not very clever to come with this proposal. Bellot gives the impression that he wants to impose his vision on the regions and that’s very old-fashioned. A tactical mistake”, says Pascal Smet in his reaction.
Carlo di Antonio: “Mobility-wise the federal government doesn’t take its responsibility”
“In fact such a coordination committee already exists, the executive committee of mobility ministers (CEMM), but is doesn’t work very well and has been neglected by previous federal ministers of transport”, says di Antonio. “I don’t see the necessity of creating another one, what I want is a political will to collaborate.”
If the federal minister wants to be efficient, he’d better invest more in what is a federal responsibility, the national railway company.”
Coordination is needed
A coordination between the different regions on a national level is surely needed, but the regions are not interested in yet another instrument of coordination and they insist on letting the existing ones function better.
“At the moment everybody works on his island”, says Bellot’s spokesman, “Flanders wants to expand the ring road around Brussels, Brussels wants to reduce the number of lanes, Wallonia wants a vignette as a sort of road toll, Flanders wants smart road pricing, etc…”
Everybody wants more coordination apparently, until his plan is not accepted. Maybe the problem is that Belgium already has the highest number of mobility ministers in Europe, but that won’t be resolved by creating another level of consultation.
The Flemish political party N-VA wants mobility to be totally regionalized but also here the spirits are not on the same line: “Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia with a different railway system, this is really crazy”, says Pascal Smet, Brussels mobility minister (sp.a). “Let’s make decisions about joined targets and tasks and let’s go for it.”