Monday, September 17, 2007

Belgium to Spilt?

Earlier this year Belgium had an election in which the economic center-right parties won. Now usually all that would be left is for the parties to arrange a government coalition and care on with politics. In Belgium this has proven impossible because of the cultural geography of the country. The French-speaking Walloons do not get along with the Dutch-speaking Flemings and vice-versa.

Negotiations and intervention by the king have produced no results. Belgium is a country with no government (in the European sense). So what do Belgians think? Most do not seem to care. The country is culturally and politically split (separate parties for the different language groups) and economically different as well with the "capitalistic" Flemings being better of then the "welfare" Walloons.

The failure to secure a government has led some to reasonable wonder if Belgium will break up. The Economist has a good article which discusses this possibility. While most Belgians would prefer to keep the country unified, the other side is quite vocal.

Possible outcomes range from new countries to reunification with the respected nations. For all the cartographic lovers out there, someone took the time to create possible outcomes of the breakup.

While Europe moves towards closer political unification with the European Union it also moves towards devolution. Belgium's capital, Brussels, is also the capital of the European Union. If a small country with only two cultural groups like Belgium cannot stay together, how can a supernational European Union ever hope to permanently unite the continent?

1 comment:

Pangloss said...

Good on the Flemings. EU delenda est. The sooner that fascist project dies a quiet death the better.