Home » Demir goes to Cassation against climate arrest: “French-speaking judge imposes collective impoverishment on Flanders”

Demir goes to Cassation against climate arrest: “French-speaking judge imposes collective impoverishment on Flanders”

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Flemish Minister of the Environment Zuhal Demir (N-VA) will indeed file an appeal in cassation against the decision of the Brussels Court of Appeal, which ordered the Flemish Region, the Brussels Capital Region, and the Belgian state on Thursday to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 by 55 percent compared to 1990. She announced this on Radio 1. According to Demir, “a French-speaking judge is imposing collective impoverishment on the Flemish Community.”

After the judgment in the so-called Climate Case was announced on Thursday, Demir said he would analyze the decision “with a view to Cassation”. On Friday she confirmed that she will file an appeal in cassation. “It’s a matter of principle. We live in a democracy, but the Court of Appeal goes further than European obligations.”

Demir sees the judgment as a decision by a French-speaking judge to impose “collective impoverishment” on Flanders. “I will not allow a judge to make political decisions. Because what it actually does is impose a ‘degrowth’ narrative.” Within the European objectives, Flanders does what it can and must, is her reasoning. Moreover, according to her, the judge made a mistake by speaking of a general reduction and not making a distinction between the sectors that fall within the European emissions trading system and those outside it.

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What Demir also says is very surprising is the fact that the Walloon Region was not convicted. “How did that happen? Because Wallonia has closed two blast furnaces in Liège and Charleroi. As a result, CO2 emissions have fallen sharply, but this also had consequences for employment.” Demir therefore does not intend to close companies or entire sectors to achieve the climate goals. “We are not going to go down that path,” she said.

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The Minister of the Environment also wants to focus on climate adaptation. “We have to work hard on this,” she refers to the recent floods in the Westhoek. “We will indeed not get there with dikes alone. But we do need to widen and deepen rivers.”

De Croo: “Belgium is doing its share of climate efforts within European goals”

Earlier, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open Vld) had also pointed out “differentiation” among EU member states in a response to the climate ruling. The EU is committed to an emissions reduction of 55 percent by 2030, De Croo explained on Radio 1. “The Belgian share in this is a 47 percent reduction.” That has to do with what our country looks like, the Prime Minister believes. “Our country is relatively flat and highly industrialized.”

How we divide climate efforts between the regions is “a political debate,” says De Croo. “But the solutions are there.” The Prime Minister is convinced that our country can be part of the solution. “Our green technology is used in the rest of the world. The climate agenda has become a growth agenda. Our country wants a piece of that pie.”

From New Year, Belgium will be President of the Council of the European Union. The Prime Minister believes this is an excellent opportunity to better equip the industry for the climate transition. “A story with objectives and incentives,” describes De Croo. He is thinking of a policy along the lines of the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States. Imposing too strict rules on companies would cause them to leave for places where regulations are less strict, the Prime Minister argues.

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The Prime Minister is currently in Dubai for the COP28. The fact that this climate summit is taking place in an oil state can count on a lot of criticism. De Croo is interested in this, but wants to be “realistic”. “We are phasing out our use of fossil fuels. But we will always need some. A country like the Emirates does everything it can to do this as responsibly as possible.” According to De Croo, the country uses its oil profits for green projects “which we in Europe can be jealous of”.

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