The Belgian Crisis: Who Wants Wallonia?

A quote from The [London] Times, 8 September 2007

Belgians have been shocked by a poll this week that gave 43 per cent support in the Flemish north for secession. Even in the French-speaking southern half of Wallonia, which would have the most to lose economically by partition, one in five people believes that a break-up would be favourable. […] “Prepare for divorce,” announced the cover of Le Vif, an influential [Belgian] French-language weekly magazine, which spelt out the far-reaching costs for the impoverished region of Wallonia of splitting the health and social services, railways and the national debt.

The crisis arose from Belgium’s elections three months ago. The winner, Yves Leterme and his Flemish Christian Democrats, want greater autonomy for the regions, but they have not been able to find suitable coalition partners. […]

No major party is seeking a break-up openly. However, Gerard Deprez, a former Christian Democratic leader in Wallonia, voiced the feelings of many when he declared: “I do not want the end of Belgium, but I fear it will happen.” […] [T]he problem of what to do with the royals remains one of the main barriers to the break-up of the country.

Another is the future of Brussels. The Belgian capital is a bilingual oasis in Flanders and, despite being the seat of the Flemish parliament, has a largely Francophone population. Its role as home to the EU and Nato has led some to suggest that it should become a kind of Brussels DC for Europe. Proposals unveiled this week to consolidate the European Commission estate with an ambitious new building programme have added to suspicions that the capital’s authorities are preparing for such an eventuality.

Constitutionally a new election cannot be called until the next scheduled vote in 2011, and the Verhofstadt Government is unable to take major decisions of state — such as signing the new EU Reform Treaty with the other 26 European leaders, which is planned for December.

Talk of separation has ignited interest in France, where a columnist in the newspaper Le Figaro suggested that President Sarkozy should welcome Wallonia as a new province if wealthy Flanders broke away. France, however, has shown no interest in annexing a population of 4 million with 15 per cent unemployment.

Jason is Bizarre


If you want to fall into ad hominem so be it.  That just reveals that you're a liberal on a losing argument.

If you know what you're talking about say something constructive, otherwise keep your mouth sealed and learn.

If you know anything about Descarte or the French Revolution or for that matter anything that doesn't involve surfing MySpace then I would suggest you step away from reading this blog and drinking Kool-Ade.


"The Truth is absolute.", Pope Benedict XVI

Bizarre # 3

@ Jason

1) I have no illusions about the education system in Louisiana, but you seem to have illusions about the education system in Belgium by declaring that there was "nothing PC" in Amsterdamsky's latest shallow rant.  I have given you 1 criterion by which to judge the "education system". Many others are conceivable, but you simply like making assertions, like "crap hole", which suggests prejudice more than knowledge, which is just up Amsterdamsky's alley....

2)  GDP calculations should always be taken with a grain of salt (in view of methodological difficulties and unavoidable assumptions), and vary somewhat depending on sources.  Reputable sources, like the OECD, the IMF, and even the (more suspect) CIA, suggest that per capita GDP in the US is about one third higher than in Belgium.  Given the respective disparities within Belgium and the US, it is reasonable to assume that the per capita GDP of Louisiana and that of Flanders are "comparable".   I think any specific dollar or euro figures would suggest a false sense of accuracy, precisely the sort of thing that Amsterdamsky-types cannot fathom. 

3) Every person will "interject own political views into what constitutes a good education system", and if you think otherwise I would not use your word "asinine" but rather my word "naive".  In my view, a good education system promotes empiricism and a love of freedom in its pupils.  By that measure there is no observable ground to declare "per capita education" in Flanders TODAY higher than in Louisiana.  Perhaps they are "comparable" too, because both 'states' have in recent times tended to vote for (local, i.e. state) politicians with naive-left world views and a significant propensity for dishonesty and corruption.  

@ spraynasal

I am not belgian nor flemish.

And you should know better your constitution.

@ spraynasal

You want to play the good guy when you say "No. Flemish have always had the majority in Belgium" but you cannot

You know perfectly that Belgian constituition is anti democratic ang give as much brocking power to 20% belgians (50% wallon) as to 60% belgian (100% flemish). Belgium was corrupt since the very begining and that corruption can but spray.


Walloons are more than 20%...About 34%, Plus 8 or 9% of Brussels french-speaking and this figure is easy to check. The ratio Flemish-French is close to 60-40. More exactly, "As of 2006, the Flemish Region had a population of about 6,078,600; Wallonia had 3,413,978; Brussels houses 1,018,804 in the Capital Region's 19 municipalities"

The tie-break that you refer to is probably the parity of ministers in the federal government, but it is not reproduced at the legislative level: Only in the executive branch. And you are free to denounce this agreement that your politicians have agreed upon in earlier times, but then we are free to refuses borders around Brussels that don't agree with the will of the present-day local populations...


@ Jason

You are mistaken, sir.  Amsterdamsky's "bet" that "per capita education" would be higher in Flanders than in Louisiana is very much "PC" and highly questionable.   The quality of "education" is a very subjective subject that does not lend itself easily to measurement, unlike economic variables as per capita GDP.   In my view, the measurement of "education" cannot be separated from the purposes of education, and the latter cannot be divorced from 'values'.  Opinion surveys suggest that freedom-denying totalitarian regimes (like China, Cuba, Iran...) find more sympathy in Belgium than in Louisiana.  That alone should tell you that his claim of superior "education" in Flanders is highly questionable.


Even his claim of higher GDP per capita in Louisiana, compared with Flanders, is questionable.    The per capita GDP (in purchasing power terms) of the US is about one third higher than that of Belgium.   Given the poor relative position of Louisiana within the US federation, it would be closer to the truth to say that its per capita GDP is 'comparable' to that of Flanders, but surely larger than that of an independent Wallonia (without Flemish 'transfers').    

Listen, Lousiana is a crap

Listen, Lousiana is a crap hole and has a horrible education system. I know precisely nothing about the education system in Belgium, but I have to assume it would be better than Lousiana. You are trying to interject your own political views into what constitutes a good education which is just asinine...even though I largely agree with you.

Either way the per-capita GDP of Lousiana in 2004 was $35,544. In Flanders during the same year it was 27,356 euros, which is by todays conversion rate is $37,674. So I was wrong, Flanders is richer than Lousiana, but still rather close and would be ranked only 35th out of the US States.

What does Wallonia want?

I like to read the self-satisfied
assumptions written here for the sake of the belief that Flanders would
only be benefitting from independence while Wallonia would fall into a
black hole. Yes, I am a we are the underdogs.And some of
us are ready to play their roles as underdogs...And we can be good at
playing it.


At chess game, nothing delight me more than to see my
opponent attacking overconfidently, believing in his upperhand,
and then meet his fate... Yes we have and we are
receiving money from Flanders...But who have made the laws creating this system? Us? No. Flemish have always had the majority in Belgium. Always.


If Flanders now decide to stop using Belgium for its own
benefit and prefer to become independent, no problem...But I like to
read these self-comforting half truths: FLanders as one of the most
prosperous regions, Wallonia as one of the poorest...In fact Flanders
has an average between 110 and 115, less than Bavaria or Catalogne,
while Wallonia, between 85 and 90 is better off than Eastern Europe. In
2006, the growth of Wallonia has been stronger.  And furthermore, if
you sum together the income of Brussels and Wallonia, the average
become much better. Because the only great city for Wallonia


I like to read these half-truths, because to see how much
our opponents are trying to deceive their audience shows a measure of
their real strength. The more an opponent transforms the facts, the
less he is capable of winning... No, dear Vlaams Belang people, you
don't have all the cards in your hands...I also read with interest the
repeated assumptions that we would join France...maybe...if Belgium was
to be dissolved. That, in my opinion, could happen only if there was an
international agreement to keep the borders of Brussels as they are
today, in other words, to keep Brussels from having a common border
with Wallonia. The trouble is, the territory between Brussels and
Wallonia is already populated by a majority of French-speaking
population, and in case of international arbitrage on this point,
Flanders could have to accept to enlarge the bilingual Brussels region.


A Brussels region enclaved from Wallonie would have less national
unity. That's why we will keep on our demand for consulting the local
population over the extend of the Brussels region. It's time to set the


If you declare independence, the hope for a "Wallobrux" state
would have a good chance of becoming reality. So, for now, you won't
make us this gift...Meanwhile, we are watching the little walloon
tennis player Justine Hennin beating the William sisters at the US
open... and feel that, no, Wallonia is not vowed to the underworld in
case of splitting of Belgium. Good riddance, Flemish

Poorly run?

Excuse you?  We can protest.


Apparently you cannot protest.


Apparently your taxed to a breaking point.


And your government cannot fight wars, only police it's own scared public, the very public that it put in chains thru socialism and fear.


They won't defend you.


Poorly run.


Your policies are leaving you defenseless.


Your barely not even run.

Comments at BJ are so bizzare.

Tito, what the hell are you talking about?

I'm not used to defending Amsterdamsky, but nothing he said was "PC" or relativistic. He was also correct that Lousiana has a higher per capita GDP than Flanders. While as an American, I'm not going to argue that my country is very poorly run, I know for a fact it's far better governed than any European country outside Switzerland.

"Wallonia can wallow in their French Cartesian stench of democratic socialism"

What the hell does Descartes have to do with anything, much less democratic socialism?

"US is incredibly poorly run "

I beg to differ sir.  If you want to fall into the PC trap of relativism, then the rest of the world is much more worse run than the US.

Every country has their deficiancies and corruption.  It's that the US is much better at running a corrupt system than the rest of the world.

But that is a minor point.

I say let Belgium break up.  Either join the Netherlands or like you say, cut back the beauracracy and have the Singapore of the West blossom.

Wallonia can wallow in their French Cartesian stench of democratic socialism and fade into oblivian along with France for all I care (or they for that matter).

"The Truth is absolute.", Pope Benedict XVI

Europeons have very low standards

" if wealthy Flanders broke away. "


Europeons have very low standards.  Probably due to Socialist/Multicultural indoctrination.  I bet Louisiana has a higher per capita income than Flanders.  I also bet that Flanders has higher per capita education than Louisiana.

Break off from Belgium, lower taxes and give new start up businesses tax breaks and reduce their paperwork compliance and you will be the richest country in the world within 20 years. I don't think it is that difficult. The US is incredibly poorly run yet they manage to still outperform everyone in output per person (except black money Luxembourg and Oil rich Norway).

"Royals remains one of the

"Royals remains one of the main barriers to the break-up of the country."

Is this a joke? He can stay as King of Brussels, thus giving EU a royal family.