Belgium May Really Split In2-!!!

Nov 8th, 2007, 06:55 AM
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Belgium May Really Split In2-!!!

A few months ago i posted about the possibility i had heard on BBC that Belgium was actually in danger of splitting in two - a Flemish northern state and a southern Walloonia, or French speaking

I dismissed it however and would soon blow over

But last night my local CBC news carried a detail look at the situation

and it seems sides have hardened - or i should say the Flemish side seems to have hardened.

1st there has been no government, federal, in more than three months and the designated Flem P.M. was speaking and he is a very hard liner and seems bent on splitting off.

This seems sad to me though i understand the differences - Flems he said were tired of French hegemony extant from times when all Flems had to speak French, etc.

Anyway it seems moving farther apart than resolving the issue.

Ron Paul, U.S. Republican Presidential candidate would love the no government position but how long can that last. Don't Belgians need a functioning federal government?

And the lead in for the spot was amusing: Belgian, is there more than Beer, Chocolate and Comics - noting the Smurfs.
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Nov 8th, 2007, 07:16 AM
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I still don't think it will happen.
The main problem remains Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde, which is to complicated to explain here, but is to do with voting rights.
Hopefully they will come up with a temporary cabinet, a government of national unity, like a wartime thing, because, as I understand it, at the moment new elections are not allowed due to the B-H-V problem.
They will lose all the EU offices if they do split I think. It will just cost them too much money.
I note however that the Scots, Catalans, Basques and a few others are watching with interest. If Belgium does split then it will be a boost to a lot of other nations within nations. Maybe the Friesians will join in too who knows?
hetismij is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 07:17 AM
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Oh and the Flemish PM, Letterne, has a Waalse father, and only learnt Flemish when he started kindergarten.
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Nov 8th, 2007, 07:19 AM
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The Balkanization of Europe?

maybe however with the EU, wherever it's HQ'ed it makes very little difference, assuming EU powers will increase in the future at expense of member states (except U.K.)
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Nov 8th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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Nothing like the zeal of the converted, eh? You'd be surprised how many nationalists have actually been from marginal/mixed national backgrounds rather than squarely part of the nation/culture/race they proclaim such a loud devotion to.
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Nov 8th, 2007, 07:29 AM
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This possible split would be unusual it seems in that the most prosperous advanced part of the country wants it

usually it seems (fnar!) the poorer cousin wants it - like Slovaks, Scots, Welsh, Basques, etc.

I guess most English want to split from Scotland but will not initiate it.
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Nov 8th, 2007, 07:39 AM
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There was a very good and fairly in depth report on this subject just this morning on NPR. Seems the big issue is the Flemish side feels like they (who have the stronger economy) is supporting the French speaking side and want to get out from under it. They also discussed the hardening attitudes on each side. Some Flemish towns have even passed laws making it illegal to speak French within the city limits.

Sad situation all around.
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Nov 8th, 2007, 07:40 AM
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"they is?" ... goodness forgive me it should have read "they are"

LOL
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Nov 8th, 2007, 08:11 AM
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If the EU moves it's HQ elsewhere then it will be a financial distaster for Brussels. Not only will it lose all the Eurocrats but all the other organisations that are based in brussels simply because the EU HQ is there.
It will be a financial disaster for the rest of tax paying Europe when they have to pay for a new parliament etc etc. Because you can bet the won't use the one they already have in Strasbourg.
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Nov 8th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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Even if Belgium splits, I would be surprised to see the EU pull all its operations out of Brussels...they've invested way too much in a building spree over the past few years. Not to mention that many of the bureaucrats are "lifers" with property in Brussels and kids in school there.
But...as they say, anything can happen and most usually does.

These "mixed" families in the Brussels region make for a fun guessing game when meeting someone with half and half names like Hans Dubois or Jacques Vandervelde. Do I greet them in French? Dutch? Or chicken out and stick to English?
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Nov 8th, 2007, 08:41 AM
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Though Brussels was described as a Wallonish city inside the Flemish zone on CBC the mixed up nation of Brussels is one thing that makes it so unique

i once was biking thru northern suburbs and was struck that at times it changed from Flemish speakers to French from one group of tower blocks neighborhoods to the next a mile or so away.

Amazing and wonderful, at least to an outsider.
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Nov 8th, 2007, 10:09 AM
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I am moving to Brussels in a few weeks and am watching this story with interest. One suggestion I had heard floated was making Brussels into its own city-state, kind of like Washington D.C. here in the U.S. and keeping the EU government there that way.


 
Nov 8th, 2007, 10:14 AM
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Yes why not the capital of europe that like Wash D.C. is a state until it self

neither Flem nor walloon

independent city state harking back to middle ages

Antwerp becomes cap of Flemland

and Liege Walloonieland
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Nov 8th, 2007, 10:26 AM
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Brussels is not a Wallon city - geographically it is part of Flanders, even though it is mostly French-speaking. And the French-speaking people from Brussels don't like to be called Wallons either - they are Bruxellois.
Incidentally, there is an old dialect called Marollien which is a mix of French and Flemish, though it is dying out (can still be heard around the flea market in Brussels, so I'm told). If Brussels does become a city state, perhaps they could revive it!!
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Nov 8th, 2007, 11:26 AM
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Several notable Belgians have stated that they expect the EU to move from Brussels if the country splits.
If it does get to the stage that is splits, then do not expect it to be amicable, it could well be a violent, Balkan like experience.

In theory Brussels is bi-lingual but they have in the past had to organise Dutch lessons for the shop and restaurant staff for instance, not to mention city hall staff.
Even the Belgian Royal family are useless at Dutch, the crown prince is particularly hopeless.
The main problem at the moment seems to be that there are an increasing number of French speakers moving into tradionally Dutch speaking, Flemish areas. Because of the voting boundaries (B_H-V constituancy)they are able to vote in French speaking representatives, which results in increased tensions.
Friends lived in a Flemish suburb, but had to speak French with neighbours and shopkeepers. Local Flemish inhabitants were very resentful of this.
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Nov 8th, 2007, 11:32 AM
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And IF the EU Parliament was moved...
what a scramble that would set off!

Luxembourg may be the defacto choice - the ultimate compromise

Schengen may be a good location
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Nov 8th, 2007, 11:35 AM
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"And IF the EU Parliament was moved..."
You do know the European Parliament sits both in Strasbourg and Brussels, with many of its administrative staff based in Luxembourg?
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Nov 8th, 2007, 11:39 AM
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Yes and i think Court is in Luxembourg - i've seen the EU buildings in all three

Strasbourg edifices are spectacular - on canals towards Rhine and Germany - a good candidate but politically Luxembourg would make a good compromise it seems between the French and German bigshots who seem to run the EU show since UK is sitting it out basically it seems
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Nov 8th, 2007, 11:55 AM
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I've never understood why they didn't put the European capital in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
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Nov 8th, 2007, 12:06 PM
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I think we will see the same language/culture-driven differences in the USA within my lifetime. The dominance of Spanish over English in the Southwest and in several other areas is almost guaranteed if you look at population trends and government reluctance to enforce employment law or curb immigration.
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