As I write posts on dress and tattoos and ex-girlfriends, I figured that I might share something pretty heady and fascinating that I haven’t heard in the American media:

On Monday afternoon Herman Van Rompuy, the veteran politician appointed by Belgian King Albert II as his royal “scout,” will report to the King about possible ways out of Belgium’s government crisis. The crisis has arisen as a result of the inability of the Belgian politicians to form a government. There is growing talk of a secession of Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern half of Belgium. If that happens what to do with Brussels, a French-speaking enclave within Flanders? And what about Wallonia, the French-speaking southern half of Belgium? {…}

Although the majority of its people speak Dutch, Belgium has throughout its history been dominated by a French-speaking establishment. When in the early 20th century the country gradually began to democratise, this establishment feared that the Flemings would become the rulers of the state. Hence, Belgium was federalised giving Wallonia a constitutionally guaranteed veto over all major decisions and a guaranteed share of half the seats in government and major administrations. The conservative, free-market oriented Flemings have been complaining for decades that they are forced to subsidize the Socialist south, while no improvement of the economic situation of the Walloons has been visible. On the contrary, Wallonia has become one of the most corrupt regions in Europe with hardly any economic growth.

It’s all a bit confusing but really quite interesting. They’re toying with confederation, which as America, Russia, Serbia, and just about every other country that has tried it will tell you that it doesn’t work.

The Brussels quandary is itself quite interesting. The center of European unification is at the heart of a country that might be falling apart!

Category: Newsroom

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