Things are at odds between Flemish Mobility Minister Lydia Peeters (Open Vld) and Ann Schoubs, director general of public transport company De Lijn. Schoubs had made some critical statements in the media about the company’s inadequate financing. She called the outdated buses ‘cadavers’ and the underfunding ‘a rotting strategy’.
In response, Peeters lashed out strongly at Schoubs, saying that the government had not saved on De Lijn and had kept its side of the agreements. “Stop whining and complaining,” she said. “Create a different mentality and make sure the made agreements are adhered to.”
Mutual rights and duties
Minister Peeters has not saved at all on De Lijn. She points out that both parties signed a contract with mutual rights and duties and that the government is adhering to its agreements, for example, by increasing the resources to 1,2 billion euros. De Lijn, however, is not achieving several objectives, such as efficiency and cleanliness.
Especially the fact that Schoubs had gone to the media with her criticism is unacceptable to her. “A company that has problems is not going to cry in the newspaper,” she said sharply.
The left-wing opposition parties Green and PVDA condemn the minister’s sharp response. They call it a “shameful spectacle” in which “the travelers are left out in the cold”.
Flemish national conservative N-VA, on the other hand, supports the Minister. They point out that De Lijn is a government company that gets imposed objectives through the public service contract. “Different opinions should be discussed internally, not in the media,” they say. “Shouldn’t there be some loyalty to the government?”