Last month, the deep sound of the French “Non” and the Dutch “Neen” struck Brussels like a rising knell. Many reasons have been put forward for the rejection of the European Constitution in France and the Netherlands, but one obvious reason has so far been left unmentioned. The Federal Kingdom of Belgium, a state inhabited by Dutch-speaking Flemings and French-Speaking Walloons, prides itself on being “the prototype of Europe.” Perhaps their linguistic neighbours in France and the Netherlands, who speak the same languages as the Belgians, simply did not want to be governed from Brussels and end up in a European super-state that is fast becoming a Greater Belgium.
On 24 and 25 May, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Professor of Economics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute (Auburn, Alabama), visited Antwerp, where he gave a lecture on the economic surplus value of small states.
Washington has the Potomac, London the Thames, Paris the Seine, Berlin the Spree, Rome the Tiber, Budapest the Danube. Have you ever wondered what Brussels is missing? The Capital of Europe is the only European capital without a waterfront. It has not always been that way. As so often in the history of Belgium, King Leopold II (1835-1909) is to blame.
When the late French president François Mitterrand was asked about his illegitimate daughter Mazarine in an interview, his response was: "Et alors?", "So what?". Albert II, the incumbent King of the Belgians, never gives interviews. When the story about Delphine Boël, the illegitimate child he had with baroness Sybille de Sélys Longchamps, broke loose in 1999, the Royal Court remained silent. In his 1999 christmas speech, the King only vaguely made allusions to his former marital problems, and said "these matters belong to our private lives".