A quote from Anthony Manduca in The Times of Malta, 23 September 2007
Should Belgium – the heart of the EU – split into two it would be embarrassing for those in the EU who advocate even deeper integration and the eventual doing away of the nation state. However, I do not believe that the majority of EU officials and leaders are in favour of such a direction for the EU.
I have always been a strong believer in the EU and a defender of its values and what it stands for. […] However, one must be level-headed and practical when it comes to the EU. While acknowledging all the positive things it has achieved through shared sovereignty – and there are many – there are limits to how much further integration can take place. The Belgian state of affairs has highlighted the importance of the EU respecting core national identities and of recognising the fact that different regions have diverse approaches to economic issues within a market economy, which it does. Flanders, for example, is economically more liberal that Wallonia and this one of the causes of the sharp divisions between the two regions.
Should Belgium divide in two, however, it might be bad news for the EU federalists, but the two states will still be united by common values and beliefs within the European Union, along with their other EU partners. Furthermore, the EU will ensure that the split (if this does come about) takes place peacefully and without confrontation, in a spirit of solidarity.
I have no doubt at all that should the two regions eventually become independent they will remain EU members. I do not believe that a division of the country will harm the EU’s image and credibility. It will, on the other hand, boost those who argue – rightly – that the EU is a union of sovereign states bound by common values which voluntarily share their sovereignty in a spirit of solidarity.