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    EU: The Model is Collapsing. Brussels Calls upon King for Help
    News/Comment; Posted on: 2007-08-19 11:59:12 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    "The unravelling of Belgium does not bode well for the European Union’s attempts to transform itself into a multinational state."

    From the desk of Paul Belien

    The politicians in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, are unable to form a government coalition with sufficient support in both parts of the multinational country, i.e. in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking north of the country, and Wallonia, the French-speaking south. They have asked the Belgian King Albert II to defuse the situation.

    The Walloon politicians refuse to join a government led by Yves Leterme, the leader of the Flemish Christian-Democrats, who won the Belgian general elections last June 10th. All the major parties in Flanders are demanding greater autonomy for Flanders, the most capitalist-minded (and consequently most prosperous) part of the country, which has been funding the less affluent (because socialist-oriented) south since Belgium’s establishment in 1830-31.

    Belgium is an artificial state of 10.5 million inhabitants, which prides itself on being the model for a federal Europe. The country was put together in 1830-31 by the international powers as a political compromise and an experiment in building one state out of two nationalities. It consists of 6 million Dutch-speakers in Flanders, its northern half that borders on the Netherlands, 3 million French-speakers in Wallonia, its southern half that borders on France, and 1 million people in its capital Brussels, which is also the capital of Flanders and of the European Union.

    Brussels has a French-Dutch bilingual status. Many of its inhabitants are of North-African extraction. Brussels, which is historically a Dutch-speaking town and is an enclave within Flanders, was deliberately “frenchified” after the establishment of Belgium by the country’s ruling French-speaking elite. During the past decades, the Belgian regime has encouraged North African immigrants, who come from former French colonies, to apply for Belgian citizenship. This was done in an attempt to force the Flemings into an ever shrinking minority position in what used to be one of their most important towns. In 2001 (in an interview in the newspaper Le Matin) Claude Eerdekens, the Socialist chairman of the Naturalisation Commission of the Belgian House of Representatives, admitted that his commission was granting citizenship to foreigners without investigating the applicants’ backgrounds because most of the immigrants speak French rather than Dutch. “Our Commission does more for the frenchification of Brussels than the Flemings can ever do to prevent it,” Mr Eerdekens boasted.

    The Francophone arrogance has backfired in a growing appeal of the Vlaams Belang (VB) party, Belgium’s most outspoken Flemish-secessionist and “Islamophobic” party and its only Eurosceptic party. Owing to the rising popularity of the VB, other Flemish parties have begun to take stronger pro-Flemish positions.

    Full Article
    News Source: BrusselsJournal.com

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