PES joins over 100,000 Belgian citizens to protest against new conservative government



Over 100,000 Belgian citizens took to the streets today to protest against the new conservative government and its economic and labour reforms. The new government, which took office on 11 October, intends to extend the pension age, affect salaries and endanger public services. The Party of European Socialists, led by PES Deputy Secretary General Yonnec Polet, joined the demonstration in Brussels.

Mr Yonnec Polet stressed that; “this is another example of how the conservatives’ obsession with austerity measures is ultimately self-destructive. This country, like many others in Europe, needs a stronger social security, not a weaker one. If Prime Minister Charles Michel wants to boost growth and competitiveness, he needs to focus on creating more and better jobs, on promoting fair and equal salaries for women and men, and on developing a more just tax system. This new government must understand that Belgium’s welfare state is not negotiable”.

Today’s demonstration, which was held all across the country, was called by the trade unions in support of Belgian workers. Joining the protest, PS Belgium released an analysis of the impact of the anti-social measures drawn up by the new conservative government.

In the document, PS Belgium leader Elio di Rupo highlighted the worrying fact that “for the first time, a member of the government has recognised that they’re reducing people’s income”. During the demonstration, Mr Di Rupo added that the new government "needs a change of direction". Sp.a leader Bruno Tobback stated: “There are other ways and other choices possible for our society to grow”.

For more photos of the Brussels demonstration, click here.