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Cries for Belgium to split





bogger
I recently read an article in the Economist stating that Belgium is a pointless country and that it should either split into 2, one flemish and one walloonian or that they should just join holland and france respectively. What do people think about this?:

link:
http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9767681

The Economist wrote:
when they vote, as they did on June 10th, they do so along linguistic lines, the French-speaking Walloons in the south for French-speaking parties, the Dutch-speaking Flemings in the north for Dutch-speaking parties. The two groups do not get on—hence the inability to form a government. They lead parallel lives, largely in ignorance of each other.


I think that this would be an ok idea, but unfortunately, I can imagine that problems will arise when they try to rejoin the E.U. (as they have to do).
1) How can the Headquarters not be in the E.U. any more?
2) Spain will veto letting them in, because it may give Catalonia/Basque ideas.

Aside from that, is there really any point in them being forced to live together. I myself am Irish, and I feel that while Northern Ireland is irish too, we don't have to be the same country to share the same identity.
Shewolf
I simply can't understand this:
Why can't just people live together and get allong. And why do you have to split so many countries, just because nations can't agree? They won't agree as separate states anyway, so why just not try.
I have no idea how many "new" countries Europe has been getting just since I was born, and that's only 17 years ago.
I knew there was different "kinds" of people living in Belgium, but never knew they wanted that bad to split.
But if they go separate ways, what will happen rest?
Splitting Findland into three, and Spain too? Not to mention Italy, and all the other countris nations which I really do not know the status of right now. People need to live together to bother to learn about eachother, so if we give EVERY nation it's little piece of land, why would they ever care to talk to the neighbour. Or for that matter, would they just continue to fight for more land?
Tim Graham
If the two parts of the countries have managed, to the best of my knowledge, to live in peace for the last century and a half then why shouldn't they continue to do so? It might be 'pointless' but if it works for them, why not?
Tim Graham
This caught my eye:
Quote:
Govt impasse prompts Belgium to consider break-up
Posted Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:25pm AEST
Updated Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:26pm AEST


Separate ways: A waiter holds glasses of beer with the colours of the Belgian national flag during the annual Belgian beer weekend in Brussels. (File photo) (Reuters: Francois Lenoir)

There are a number of questions being raised both in and outside of Belgium as a political impasse fans the flames of separatism in the Dutch-speaking north.

Should Belgium break up? Would anyone in the rest of the world notice? Should they care?

More than three months after national elections, political leaders have failed to form a government, stymied by age-old rivalries between the Dutch and French speaking communities.

France's Liberation newspaper splashed "What if Belgium splits..." on its front page last week while The Economist called for a "praline divorce" - presumably a Belgian variant of the "velvet divorce" that split Czechoslovakia peacefully 15 years ago - saying Belgium had outlived its purpose.

Seen by many as an unhappy marriage between the Anglo-Saxon north and Latin south of Europe, Belgium has often been the butt of jokes from its French and Dutch neighbours.

But political scientists say the nation of 10.5 million is a model of peaceful coexistence, as well as the source of some ubiquitous inventions such as the saxophone and bakelite.

"Belgium is an interesting experiment in governing together without bloodshed. It's something that might teach other places in the world like Northern Ireland or Cyprus," Kris Deschouwer said, political scientist at Brussels Free University.

While the two sides like to tease each other, with Dutch speakers from the affluent north often describing their southern Walloon fellow citizens as lazy, violence is extremely rare.

"The Flemish movement has not been violent. It is no ETA," Jean-Yves Camus said, political scientist and research fellow at the Institute for International Relations and Strategy (IRIS) in Paris, referring to Basque separatist guerrillas in Spain.

"Often other groups are using terrorism and are not backed by their people."

Domino effect

Some commentators say a split could have a domino effect with other separatist groups in Europe claiming independence.

"If Belgium breaks up then many would follow. This could be seen as part of the end of the nation state," Carl Devos said, professor at the University of Ghent.

He said Spain, where Catalonia's parliament has declared the region a nation within Spain, and Britain, where the Scottish National Party recently became the biggest party in Scotland's parliament, were obvious candidates.

Political analysts say Belgium is an example of how the devolution of power to regions and supranational institutions such as the European Union is superseding the nation state.

"You can be a citizen of the world and Flemish at the same time," Mr Camus said.

If the country were to split, it could well create more problems than it would solve.

"If you think it through, splitting up a country is harder than forming a coalition government," Mr Deschouwer said. "Split it up how? Who, for example, will pay the huge public debt?"

Belgium's public debt amounted to 87 per cent of gross domestic product in 2006.

The political impasse largely centres on who pays for what. Flanders, the dominant economic power, complains it has to subsidise the economically weak Wallonia and wants more public services decentralised.

Another question: what would happen to Brussels? The headquarters of the EU is a bilingual region with an 80 per cent French-speaking population inside Flanders.

Even the head of the Flemish NVA party, which wants eventual independence for the region, said he could not see a solution.

The only politician to call for a split so far is Filip Dewinter, head of the far-right Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest). He told the Flemish parliament the nation should go for a "velvet divorce".

A poll by public broadcaster VRT showed 40 per cent of the Flemish - but only 8 per cent of the French-speaking Wallonia region - want the country to split.

But many people seem underwhelmed by the political impasse, with close to 70 per cent saying in a survey in La Derniere Heure that they did not see it as a political crisis. Previous governments have taken as long as six months to form.

-Reuters

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/09/13/2032225.htm?section=world
bigdan
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
bogger
bigdan, it is broken, that's the problem....

If it wasn't broken, there would be a government...


Also: The economist posts on what they think should be done:
http://www.economist.com/blogs/certainideasofeurope/2007/09/how_to_save_belgium.cfm?sa_campaign=internal_ads/house/rss/blog_europe/160

The say that "the pavia group" has an idea about what should be done
Quote:
Pavia's solution is to force all parties that want to be in the national government to fight for seats in a special "federal", ie nationwide constituency. A tenth of the 150 seats in the lower chamber of the national parliament would be elected from this nationwide constituency. The idea is that each party would have a strong interest in winning seats from this national constituency

Once parties decide to woo voters in the whole of Belgium, that should temper their wilder, most sectarian campaign positions. This seems logical. If Belgian readers are still speaking to us, it would be interesting to hear their thoughts.


Of course, I see this like in Northern Ireland, where I fail to see how that would work
coolclay
All countries are stupid to begin with, they will all fail eventually, and then other countries will take over, or start a new government. Why people can't see the obvious faults in governments, I'll never know. There has never and will never be a government/society/country that lasts forever, and even more then like 1000 years.
Lord Klorel
Shewolf wrote:
I simply can't understand this:
Why can't just people live together and get allong. And why do you have to split so many countries, just because nations can't agree? They won't agree as separate states anyway, so why just not try.
I have no idea how many "new" countries Europe has been getting just since I was born, and that's only 17 years ago.
I knew there was different "kinds" of people living in Belgium, but never knew they wanted that bad to split.
But if they go separate ways, what will happen rest?
Splitting Findland into three, and Spain too? Not to mention Italy, and all the other countris nations which I really do not know the status of right now. People need to live together to bother to learn about eachother, so if we give EVERY nation it's little piece of land, why would they ever care to talk to the neighbour. Or for that matter, would they just continue to fight for more land?


I can tell you more about it, because i live in Belgium. The reason is that we flemish and wollonians can't agree because we have different idea's in ruling a country. The great "richdom" of Belgium is to be thanking to the Flemish because our economy has a good evolution and great lot of money that has been earned by the flemish will go to our french brothers in Wallon.

The great point of misery is that all the politic groups of the wollonian will not cooperate with the group NVA that has an alliance with the greatst flemish group CD&V. Madame No (Joël Milquet) refuses to cooperate with NVA because the have a few lines that can founded at a group that has extreme right ideas. Even I get a bounching head of this blablabla.
Kovsieassassins
Few people know this but this is what happend in Zimbabwe

there is also ethinc groups(Shona's and the Ndebele's) wich couldn't stand each other so the one group voted for Mugabe and the other for the MDC and they kept voting for them no matter how bad they govern the country. If they had split in two each group could have selcted a good leader in his own group but now they only vote out of hate.
smarter
Shewolf wrote:
I simply can't understand this:
Why can't just people live together and get allong.


Because it's in the human nature: disdain for 'the other'!

Do they cross themselves with the other hand? Kill the heretics! Oh, they speak a language I don't understand? Those stammerers must be really stupid! And the modern version: Poorer regions? Ditch those lazy bastards!

Shewolf wrote:
I knew there was different "kinds" of people living in Belgium, but never knew they wanted that bad to split.


Indeed there are different kinds of people in Belgium: good, fat, bad, smart, hard-working, tall, stupid, lazy, young etc Laughing ...and THEY don't want to split! Few of them want that!

Quote:
bigdan, it is broken, that's the problem....

If it wasn't broken, there would be a government...


Oh, no prime minister for a few months? To kill our children or to elect new parliament? That's the question!
LumberJack
I personally think that if we don't live their we should keep our noses out of it. People are highly sensitive about where they live. Belgium will have to find an answer on its own, I think the only thing we can do is encourage them to do it in a peaceful means.

Sad situation though.
MARCIV
It seems funny



Flandre forget the time when they were poor. During this time Walloon industry help them.
Now coat industry collapse and flamands call for split ans independance.

Ok dude but u forget one thing.

Be sure France will help them to face their financial debt and crush these horrible dutch Wink
rein
First of all: i live in Belgium. More specifically: The dutch, flemmish part of Belgium. And i don't want Belgium to fall apart.
And i don't think it will, either. This is not the first time it has taken this long to form a governement, and it won't be the last.
It's not because the public opinion (the angry mob) is easily swayed by separatist sweet-talk, that our politicians are actually going to risk ending the governmental jigsaw puzzle that is Belgium.
True, that a lot of Flemmish money is transferd to the Walloons. However; There's also a lot of money flowing from Brussels to Flanders too, because thousands of Flemmish people work in Brussels. Will Flanders lose Brussels to the Walloons if the country should split? yes. So the flemmish economy might be in for a surprise when it goes solo.
Besides, a bit of solidarity never killed anyone. The Flemmish economy is thriving, despite the money transfers. Instead of complaining, we should focus on helping the Walloons get back on their feet.
Furthermore; the brand 'Belgium' is worth a lot. We have made a name for ourselves in the last 150 years. Has anyone heard of Flanders or Walloon? I didn't think so. We'd have to start from scratch.

No. I say: let's concentrate on getting the country together again. Increase efforts to teach dutch in the French speaking part of our country. Put the dutch and french public television and radio together again. Give Belgians the chance to vote for Flemmish AND Walloon politicians. I'm not saying both regions have to give up their identity. I'm only saying the should discover each others culture too.

Or; give so much authority to both parts of the country that they can coexist and hold on to that thought until the united states of Europe will be introduced.
Bru, stuffce
I live in Belgium too. Brussels to be precise, and I too think that Belgium has a lot going for it as a single nation. I speak French so I find it easier to speak the native language of the Walloons, but nearly all of the Flemish speak English too, so we have no problem communicating either.

Here's a trade secret. I work at the National Bank of Belgium and they are the 6th country's national bank I have worked at and they are, by far, the most competent. They beat the crap out of Britain's Bank of England, France's Banque de France and the others. They are way better than the supposedly "Flagship" European Investment Bank and European Central Bank. They are just very, very good at taking responsibility, doing the job, and working until it is right. This is a group of Walloons and Flems working side-by-side in English, a second language to all of them, and still beating nations that have existed since time immemorial.

I really didn't expect to like Brussels much, but it is a great city. The combined charm of two cultural groups makes it that way, and long may it remain that way.
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