EU: The Model is Collapsing. Brussels Calls upon King for Help
From the desk of Paul Belien on Sat, 2007-08-18 14:22
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.
Last January, VB-leader Frank Vanhecke wrote
Belgium has corrupted Wallonia. 40% of the Walloons “work” as civil servants, compared to only 20% of the Flemings; 20% of the Walloons are unemployed, compared to only 8% of the Flemings. However, if the Walloons refuse to remedy this situation, if they refuse to pull their act together, if they keep voting for irresponsible and corrupt Socialist politicians who promise that everything will remain as it is, they themselves are asking for the end of Belgium. The Flemings have had enough.
Everyone in Flanders – not just “nationalist extremists” as the Walloon Socialists and the Belgian establishment say – has had enough. Recent polls revealed that more than 40% of the Flemish entrepreneurs and over half the Flemish population are in favour of Flemish independence. Those Flemings who do not aim (yet) for downright independence, want to reduce Belgium to a confederation of two almost independent states.
Every year 6.6% of Flanders’ GDP is spent on welfare in Wallonia. The money has not helped the Walloons but turned them into welfare addicts. Belgium is a case study of how socialist redistribution schemes lead to economic perversions.
Yves Leterme, the Christian-Democrat leader, who is the son of a Walloon father and a Flemish mother, caused a stir recently when he told the French newspaper Libération that Belgium is an “accident of history” which to him has no “intrinsic value.” He also criticized Belgian King Albert II for not being fluent in Dutch, the language of the majority of his people.
By refusing to join a government led by Mr Leterme, Flanders’ most popular politician, the Walloon politicians yesterday forced him to request the King, who is one of the leaders of the French-speaking establishment, to defuse the situation. This is perceived by many Flemings as a public humiliation of Mr Leterme.
Today, Flemish newspapers unanimously warn that the Walloons are playing a dangerous game. Last Wednesday Prof. Em. Robert Senelle, one of Belgium’s most prominent constitutionalists and formerly a teacher of the Belgian Crown Prince, advised the Flemings to annul the Belgian Constitution. Prof Senelle, a Flemish Socialist, said the Flemish regional parliament should solemnly declare Flemish sovereignty.
The unravelling of Belgium does not bode well for the European Union’s attempts to transform itself into a multinational state. Belgium is the EU’s model. As early as 1904 the Belgian ideologue Léon Hennebicq, a Brussels lawyer, wrote:
Have we [Belgium] not been called the laboratory of Europe? Indeed, we are a nation under construction. The problem of economic expansion is duplicated perfectly here by the problem of constructing a nationality. Two different languages, different classes without cohesion, a parochial mentality, an adherence to local communities that borders on the most harmful egotism, these are all elements of disunion. Luckily they can be reconciled. The solution is economic expansion, which can make us stronger by uniting us.”
His words foreshadowed the Europeanist project of the 1950s which aimed for political unification through economic integration. Two years ago Guy Verhofstadt, Belgium’s current (and maybe its last) Prime Minister called Belgium “the laboratory of European unification.”
Foreign politicians watch our country with particular interest because it can teach them something about the feasibility of the European project.
It seems that what Belgium can teach foreign politicians is the unfeasibility of the “European project.” Remarkably, the non-Belgian press has so far taken hardly any notice of the political problems in the EU’s host country and model. This is not the first major story that the mainstream media misses.
Meanwhile, anyone interested in the background to what is happening in Belgium, and the repercussions this could have for the EU, would do well to read my book “A Throne in Brussels.”
if the Flemish choose to sell
Submitted by Armor on Fri, 2007-08-24 00:58.
spraynasal says: "You are lamenting that foreigners and French-speaking people are spreading in and around Brussels...but if the flemish choose to sell their lands and move out? Do you think you will reverse that trend by force? Are the french-speaking parties the only one to live in the past?"
This trend could be reversed by voting new laws and making new arrangements.
I will make a comparison :
In every European country, you have laws regulating where people are allowed to build homes. For example, we are not allowed to build a modern house in the middle of the fields. If there was no law, people would start building houses in the most unlikely places, and you could then claim that people, by their behavior, show they don't want any restrictions.
For the common good, it is necessary to introduce regulations. The way to do this is not to ask people to observe restrictions on a voluntary basis. It would never work. It has to be enforced by law. We have the same problem in Brittany. People resent the fact that Parisian retirees are buying up the coastal area. Old Parisians like a place near the sea that feels safe and European. The result is that the Breton population is being displaced. But it is the Bretons themselves who sell their houses to the Parisians. The only way to prevent that would be to make a law against it. That is what we would do if we were an independent country.
The same is true of third-world immigration. You won't stop it by refusing to sell your house to an immigrant. The point you make about living in the past is often made about people who protest against immigration, but I think it is natural to resist our own displacement.
Let them learn english
Submitted by Amsterdamsky on Mon, 2007-08-20 10:38.
" We, Flemings, read all the French studies written by the Walloons. If they want to know the truth about Belgium it is about time they start to read Dutch, the mother tongue of majority of the Belgians. And if they consider Dutch too insignificant a language, let them read English. They can start with my book "A Throne in Brussels".
I have yet to meet a Wallonian that speaks english. I have yet to meet a Fleming that does not speak english. I think you should rename Wallonia "New-Albania".
I am personally convinced there are two major reasons why everything is richer north of the Rhine.
1) Protestant reformation and the ability to embrace science and new industrial technology without being tortured, arrested etc. by the Catholic Church.
2) The recent trend towards learning english which allows northerners to sell and trade with just about everyone in the world except French and Wallonians. Much advanced machinery and software does NOT have a french version.
I am a walloon living in
Submitted by spraynasal on Thu, 2007-08-23 03:21.
I am a walloon living in America...
I'm sorry if my intervention lacks of civility, but some of the previous interventions are absolutely out of balance.
Dear Flemish friends, Take your independence, keep your money, and erect a monument to Karel Dillen as founding father, no problem...(But we will keep condemning nazis collaborators like him or Leon Degrelle)
Let's divorce, but don't pretend to keep Brussels separated from Wallonia. Don't keep pretending that the French-speaking municipalities around Brussels are "just flemish"...They are not... Don't pretend to keep Brussels as "your capital"...It's not. Flemish are now about 10% of the Brussels population.
Don't rely on historical borders but on the present-day populations..
Let Brussels be free to join Wallonia, be connected to Wallonia, and to have a fully autonomous government and the divorce would go well.
Maybe we are less rich than you are but we are much better at spreading culture and humanity as western values. Like it or not, the migrants choose the French rather than the Flemish because they feel less discriminated by us...We are not ashamed of this.
When Czechosloviakia divorced, few people would have bet on Slovakia. Today Slovakia has one of the fastest-growing economy of the UE. The same could become true for Wallonia .... Now for the first time since 1895, the socialists are not anymore the first party of Wallonia. Tides are changing.
I am betting, however, that Flemish politicians will at this moment prefer to stay with Belgium rather than negociate the end of Belgium...and the adjustment of Brussels borders according to the will of the local inhabitants. Meanwhile, the Flemish around Brussels keep selling their land to French-speaking people, just because they got a better price. You are lamenting that foreigners and French-speaking people are spreading in and around Brussels...but if the flemish choose to sell their lands and move out? Do you think you will reverse that trend by force? Are the french-speaking parties the only one to live in the past?
Let us this "dirty and expensive city" of Brussels (you don't like it anyway) and choose your capital in Gent or Antwerpen..
And maybe you can also go...listening Wilfrid Martens who says "when do we start to negociate?"
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Mon, 2007-08-20 00:50.
There is an excellent website I think you might find interesting and useful.Here it is:
Biased and incorrect !
Submitted by Schaveiger on Sun, 2007-08-19 16:42.
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.
This is again a sample of historical incorrectness. Until the early 20th century Wallonia was one of the most prosperous and industrialized region in Europe. Tenthousands of Flemish commuters worked in the coal mines and the heavy metal industry in Wallonia. After WW2 the mining and siderurgy started declining rapidly with the consequences we know. The investors abandoned the mining and heavy metal industry and invested in Flanders, where they could start on new bases because there was not the burden and the high cost to modernize old and obsolete industries.
At that time Flanders was far more agricultural, had the Antwerp harbour, a developed textile industry located in the Gent and Kortrijk areas, financed by mostly French capitalist.
During the period 1830-1950 the GDP of Wallonia was far higher than that of Flanders, but starting declining from the 1930's onwards. It is obvious that during that period it was Wallonia who contributed most to the country's welfare.
However, Flemish separatists are relaying on a tax survey carried out by Juul Hannes, a former Professor by the Ghent University, who suppose to proof black on white that Wallonia has been supported by Flanders from the start of Belgium. However, very limited official statistics are available for that period because of the lack of interest and need holding statistics per region at that time, which makes it difficult to oppose other figures to these mentioned by Hannes … and he knows it.
The proof of the dodgy figures of this survey is that it has never been translated in French and has never been discussed/commented by political nor academic officials since it was published in 1998 on the website of the PVV.
Belgian taxes: Flanders always had to pay more
Submitted by Paul Belien on Sun, 2007-08-19 17:51.
Flanders always had to pay higher taxes, even in the 19th century when it was poorer than Wallonia. Prof Hannes used the Belgian tax data for his study. The Walloons do not want to accept his study because they argue that Flanders has a "moral" duty to subsidize Wallonia today "because Wallonia subsidized Flanders in the past." The latter simply is not true. After 177 years the Flemings have had enough. Let Wallonia join France if it is unable to foot its own bills.
The argument that Prof Hannes' findings cannot be true because his study has not been translated into French is typical for the arrogance of the Walloons. We, Flemings, read all the French studies written by the Walloons. If they want to know the truth about Belgium it is about time they start to read Dutch, the mother tongue of majority of the Belgians. And if they consider Dutch too insignificant a language, let them read English. They can start with my book "A Throne in Brussels".
Flanders paid more for some, not for all.
Submitted by Schaveiger on Mon, 2007-08-20 08:57.
Flanders paid more because they had more agricultural land than Wallonia, which has more value and still does now.
Question is: who owned the land and the farms ?.
Hannes indeed used the Belgian tax data. In fact he used them per province, which, following him, were given a better view on the transfers. Brabant was the highest contributor and he gave an evasive answer to justify this.
In fact many industries had their headquarters located in Brussels and thus paid taxes in Brabant. Hannes didn't mention this did he ? Even his peers on both sides did not bother to comment his survey.
That his "findings" were not translated in French (nor any other language) has nothing to do with arrogance. The media, and I mention in particular Trends Magazine, did not bother to have it edited in their French edition. Nevertheless the editor in chief, who is a member of the pompous called Think Tank "In de Warande", mentioned regularly this in his Dutch edition.
Hannes survey was sent at the time to several politicians, also in Wallonia like Louis Michel. You should not be mistaken by the fact that all the Walloons are ignoring Dutch but the majority of them are confused by the Flemish patois, which is the usual language in Flanders.
Thanks for your offer to read your "A Trone in Brussels" - do you have a Dutch version of this ?
@Scaveiger: "The proof of
Submitted by Luc Van Braekel on Sun, 2007-08-19 17:45.
@Scaveiger: "The proof of the dodgy figures of this survey is that it has never been translated in French and has never been discussed/commented by political nor academic officials since it was published in 1998 on the website of the PVV."
Oh, I understand: if it's not translated into French, then it's dodgy.
Just for your information, the first publication of the Hannes study was in Liberaal Reflex, jaargang 15 nr. 2, 1994 - in an article titled "Geven en nemen, Vlaanderen en de Belgische belastingen in de jaren 1830-1914". And at that time, the "PVV" had already changed its name to VLD.
@ Luc Van Braekel
Submitted by Schaveiger on Mon, 2007-08-20 13:46.
You're right with regard to the publication date and the VLD.
I answered the rest of your question in my today's post to PB.
Submitted by Dog of Flanders on Sun, 2007-08-19 17:33.
You are partially correct in that Flanders has not always been the most prosperous part of the country.
However, PB never wrote that, so there is no incorrectness there.
@ Dog of Flanders
Submitted by Schaveiger on Mon, 2007-08-20 13:41.
I did'nt wrote that PB was incorrect but JH is.
the colors of this map
Submitted by George2 on Sun, 2007-08-19 14:06.
It might be an idea to change the colors used in this map: red for Wallonia (a nation asphyxiated by socialism), green for Brussels (viva the environment while we pollute the capital of Europe and Flanders to hell) and blue for Flanders. In Flanders, blue used to be associated with capitalism.
EU: The Model is Collapsing
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Sun, 2007-08-19 12:53.
Belgium...prides itself on being the model for a federal Europe...it seems that what Belgium can teach foreign politicians is the unfeasibility of the "European project".
Perhaps,Kepiblanc,you would agree with me that it is now time for Europe and the U.K. to return to their traditional "Butterfly Nation" status.(?)
Submitted by kepiblanc on Sun, 2007-08-19 15:27.
Atlanticist, very interesting article about the 'butterfly' problem. And I tend to agree with you...
And just to add to the confusion...
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Sun, 2007-08-19 11:00.
Portugal is England's oldest ally,Romanian is closer to Latin than is modern day Italian -because nobody speaks Faliscan anymore-and then there is this:
Baarle - Hertog?
Submitted by Cogito on Sun, 2007-08-19 09:54.
On these maps of Belgium showing Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels, You can always clearly see the Flemish enclave in Wallonia in the East (voerstreek), and the Walloon enclave in Flanders in the East, but where is the Flemish enclave in the Netherlands, between bulge 2 and 3 at the top of the map?
Submitted by Geraldo on Sun, 2007-08-19 09:21.
I just want to remember these idiots that Portugal isnot a coutrry that borders mediterranean. It has no place in this raft.
So they can remove their little horse from the rain
"Flanders, the most
Submitted by Jason on Sun, 2007-08-19 04:36.
"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."
Well that's not true Paul. As you well know, in the 19th century it was Wallonia that industralized first and was the richer part of Belgium.
The problem is that Wallonia has remained stuck in that 19th century heavy-industry economy, which is no longer profitable, and thus depends increasingly on subsidation from the commercial north.
@Jason, about Flanders
Submitted by Paul Belien on Sun, 2007-08-19 08:09.
Prof Juul Hannes of Brussels University has carefully researched the money flows within Belgium in the 19th century (1830-1914). His conclusion is that Flanders has ALWAYS subsidized Wallonia. Most taxes were collected in the North and spent in the South. The industrialization of Wallonia was paid with money from the Flemish countryside. Corporate taxes in the 19th century were almost nihil.
Submitted by Jason on Sun, 2007-08-19 09:26.
Just to clarify my point
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Sun, 2007-08-19 01:06.
English language (from wikipedia):
"English is a West Germanic language..."
And you did write: "It seems that ALL countries speaking Latin-derived languages...",which is why I cited the English speaking USA.(I might also have pointed to the large Hispanic/Latino speaking minorities within US society...).
Sorry,Kepiblanc,but I'm afraid I can't agree with you on this one.
Submitted by kepiblanc on Sun, 2007-08-19 08:33.
Isn't English a mix of Latin and German languages with a few more thrown in? - Anyway, the overall picture seems to fit quite well with my idea, as illustrated by the case of Belgium, don't you think? - Of course Britain and Sweden aren't Latino countries, but to me they seem to be leading the way into the abysmal dhimmitude nevertheless. So maybe this MAP needs minor corrections only. ;-)
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Sun, 2007-08-19 00:39.
I was going to ask the same question myself after I'd finished laughing.Also,and by extension,wouldn't this theory lump the English speaking USA into the loser block?
Francophones and Germanophones
Submitted by kepiblanc on Sat, 2007-08-18 23:23.
It seems that all countries speaking Latin-derived tongues are more dhimmified than Germanic ones - with Sweden as an notable exception. So, let's divide Europe along those lines: Wallonia, France, Britain, Spain, Portugal and Italy continue down the slippery slope along with Greece, Turkey and Sweden. And from 2010 with all the Arab countries in the EUROMED club. The new EUrabia. Goodbye to them.
The rest of us: Flanders, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania etc. remain free countries with democracy and free trade - and friendship with the USA and all other, civilized nations.
Let the best block win.
Submitted by Bob Doney on Sun, 2007-08-19 00:10.
Interesting that you think English is "Latin-derived", and that you think the English (as opposed to the rest of Britain) would slot easily in with the French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian way of doing things. You've obviously carefully researched all this....
The clock is ticking against
Submitted by sonomaca on Sat, 2007-08-18 18:35.
The clock is ticking against Flemish soverignty and independence.
In a two nations state this
Submitted by Geraldo on Sat, 2007-08-18 18:10.
In a two nations state this is what we wait to happen. One of the nations dominating the other and attemptig killing it. The flemish had better declare flemish sovereignty and declare independence.