THE BELGIAN MODEL IS DONE, WHERE IS THE EU?

27/11/2016



The crisis in Belgium cannot be overcome. There are no grounds for compromise, no desire for conciliation and there is no solution. Belgium is approaching the edge of the cliff, step by step. The conclusion of this process may see Belgium disappear. According to reporting by Euronews, political parties in Belgium are far from forming a coalition government. The mediator between the parties has thrown in the towel.
Former Flemish socialist Johan Vande Lanotte has said that it is not possible to get the seven parties to gather around a table and has handed in his resignation. The Flemish side wants more power. The Walloons, afraid that this will mean the end of the country refuse. The knot in 180 years old Belgium cannot be undone. The New Flemish Alliance which won the June 2010 elections in Belgium has been calling for separation. The country has been administrated for the past seven months by a temporary government under Yves Leterme.
The only country to remain without a government longer than Belgium is Iraq. Iraqi politicians had not been able to reach an agreement to form a government in 289 days. Belgium now ranks second after Iraq. In a couple of months, Brussels will have overtaken Baghdad. The truth is that the Belgian model no longer enchants anyone. It is at least certain that the Belgians are immune to the charms of this model. The Walloons are trying to keep Belgium standing and in one piece despite all. However, the Flemish have different ideas and they are more powerful. During this process, Belgium which is the centre, symbol and sign of the EU in many ways is fighting heavy economic problems and political problems exacerbated by them.
Under the tragic circumstances in Belgium, the EU or various European institutions should have stepped in to lend the necessary support. Before all else, Belgium is in need of successful crisis management and it is clear that this has not been forthcoming. If the EU is unable to solve the crisis in small Brussels, where its headquarters are located, what can it hope to accomplish in other theatres? The EU used to be a geography where everyone was democratic, compromising and tolerant and where different languages, religions and races could live peacefully together. Indeed, Belgium was a case in point. Yet the tensions are running higher and higher between the northern Flemish speaking part of Belgium and the southern French speaking part.
The Flemish who live in the north of the country demand more lingual rights, especially in Brussels. Since 1994, the capital has had two official languages. In the other two areas surrounding Brussels there has been a strict separation in place since 1963. National policies are inadequate to bridge the language gap between the two peoples. An incident which occurred at a student march in Louvain University in 1968 is a clear example of this division. In the incident Flemish students had attacked French speakers with stones and had tried to lynch them.
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