German pressure group in East Belgium
AACHEN/EYNATTEN One of the largest semi-official German associations is beginning to extend its organisational structure to the territories of neighbouring states. The ,,Sozialverband VdK"has founded the ,,VdK Local Association of Euregio East Belgium"which is affiliated to the VdK District Association in Aachen (Germany) as its thirteenth local branch.
The ,,Sozialverband VdK"( ,,Association of War and Service Casualties, the Disabled and Pensioners of Germany") was founded in 1950 and has about 1.2 million members. It plays an important role in German health and social politics. It works with many advisory committees and commissions of several German ministries and federal authorities.
,,Integration"into German structures
In East Belgium the ,,Sozialverband VdK"is now campaigning for the incorporation of local associations and similar organisations into German structures ( ,,Networking and integration"). The expansion of the VdK into the Kingdom of Belgium has taken place in close agreement with the German-speaking, East Belgian, Social Democrats who started a campaign one year ago for ,,autonomy of the German-speaking community". 1)
Expansion in Euregio Maas-Rhein
The ,,Sozialverband VdK"plans to found a local branch in the South Netherlands this year, which will also be incorporated into the German organisational structure. The next target is the expansion of this German association throughout the whole area of Euregio Maas-Rhein. Like other European Regions, Maas-Rhein is co-ordinated by the Team of European Border Regions ( ,,Arbeitsgemeinschaft Europaeische Grenzregionen"- AGEG). AGEG is known as a front organisation of the Berlin Foreign Office but is funded from Brussels by other means.
1) See also earlier articles Autonomy for ,,German"Belgiumand ,,Conspiracy against Belgium"
Cross-border lobbying for the sick, disabled and pensioners. VdK now also
has presence in Belgium; netecho 10/4/03