Flemish-Nationalists Want Belgium to “Evaporate” into EU


Since the Lisbon Treaty came into force last December, the European Union (EU) has the status of a genuine state. This new state now threatens the existence of multinational states such as Belgium, the United Kingdom and Spain. Peoples such as the Flemings in Belgium, the Scots in the UK, the Catalans in Spain, would rather be provinces of the federal EU than of the federal or devolved states to which they currently belong.

That is the main lesson to be drawn from Belgium’s general elections on June 13. The Belgian elections showed an unprecedented 44% of the electorate in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern half of Belgium, voting for Flemish independence. The Flemings expressed their support for the two Flemish-nationalist parties. 31.7% of the Flemings voted for the Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (New Flemish Alliance, N-VA) and 12.3% for Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest, VB).

The Flemings constitute a 60% majority in Belgium, a country which since its establishment in 1830 has been dominated by its French-speaking minority. Belgium is a state with two different peoples under one roof. The country has two separate sets of political parties: one set for the Dutch-speaking Flemings, the other for the French-speaking Walloons in the south of the country. The Walloons vote predominantly socialist because they favor an expansion of the welfare state; the Flemings are more conservative and favor a limited state with fewer taxes.

While the center-right N-VA won in Flanders, the Parti Socialiste (PS) led by Elio Di Rupo, a 59-year old homosexual of Italian origin, won 35.8% of the vote in Wallonia. Flanders is a country of self-employed entrepreneurs; In Wallonia most of the working population are on the government payroll or on the dole. The Flemish-Walloon quarrel is not just about language, but mostly about money. The Flemings, who pay most of Belgium’s taxes and favor tax decreases, resent that their money is being spent on welfare addicts in French-speaking Wallonia who favor tax increases on the entrepreneurial segment of the population.

It is easy for Mr. Di Rupo to promise his Walloon voters more government subsidies, as the Flemings have to pay the bulk of the bill. Belgium has two sets of political parties, but one single welfare system. Five years ago, N-VA leader Bart De Wever drove a convoy of twelve trucks loaded with 226 million euros in fake €50 banknotes from Flanders to Wallonia, to protest against the annual gravy train from Flanders to Wallonia.

Today, with the N-VA as the biggest party in Flanders and the PS having consolidated its position as the biggest party in Wallonia, Mr. De Wever and Mr. Di Rupo are trying to form a new Belgian government. It is the rule in Belgian politics that governments are made up of coalitions which include the largest party from each side of the country. The Belgian Constitution requires that half the government ministers are Flemings and the other half French-speakers. This 50-50 rule, which is called the “parity” clause, also applies to top posts in the army, the judiciary, and the administration. The parity clause, combined with the constitutional requirement that all major decisions need a parliamentary majority in both parts of the country, was introduced by Belgium’s French-speaking establishment to guarantee that the 60% Flemish majority would never be able to “impose its will on Wallonia.” The result has been that the socialist majority in Wallonia imposes its will on Flanders by vetoing every attempt to reform the Belgian welfare system and the Belgian constitutional system.

It will be a tough job for De Wever, a 39-year old historian, to get Di Rupo accept the reforms which the N-VA has promised its voters. Observers are skeptical of De Wever’s chances of success. As a token of his goodwill towards Wallonia, however, De Wever has offered the post of Prime Minister to Di Rupo, despite the fact that the latter hardly speaks Dutch, the language of the majority of the Belgians, and despite the fact that De Wever, since his N-VA is Belgium’s largest party, can claim the post of Prime Minister for himself.

Three years ago, in 2007, it took Belgium’s politicians more than six months to put together a government. The efforts resulted in a coalition led by the Flemish Christian-Democrat Yves Leterme. This coalition, which included Di Rupo’s PS, had a huge majority in Wallonia but was a minority government in Flanders. It was voted into office on Dec. 23, 2007, with the support of De Wever, who voted “yes” despite not being part of the government, because Belgium urgently needed a government during the global economic crisis.

Though the N-VA aims for the dissolution of Belgium, De Wever is not a revolutionary. Shortly before the June 13 elections, and immediately afterwards, he gave press conferences to the international media to reassure them and the financial markets that the N-VA victory would not lead to political risks or instability. Bart De Wever is a European federalist. He wants Belgium to “evaporate” into the European Union. For De Wever Belgium is the prototype of the European Union as a federal state. With the EU becoming a federal state in its own right, De Wever sees no point in Flanders and Wallonia being member states of a federal Belgium which in turn is a member state of a federal EU state. Hence, his aim is to transfer all the powers of the Belgian federal level to the EU, until no powers are left at the Belgian level and all powers have either been devolved to Flanders and Wallonia or delegated to the EU. The ultimate result would be that Belgium ceases to exist (“evaporates” in N-VA language) and that Flanders and Wallonia become direct member states of a federal EU.

De Wever’s strategy appeals strongly to nationalists in Scotland, Wales, Catalonia, the Basque provinces, and other autonomous, semi-autonomous, and autonomy-aspiring regions, who all perceive themselves as constituting provinces of a federal Europe.

De Wever’s enthusiasm for a federal Europe is the main difference between his own N-VA and the Vlaams Belang party. The VB aims for an independent and sovereign Flanders. It wants to liberate Flanders from Belgium as well as from the EU. For the VB, replacing Brussels (the capital of Belgium) by Brussels (the capital of the EU) is not an option. Its model for Flanders is Switzerland and it wants the EU to be no more than a confederation at best.

In 2004 the VB still had the electoral support of 24% of the Flemings, but its support has dwindled to almost half that figure. It seems that Flemings who oppose Belgium believe that De Wever will do a better job at liberating them by “evaporating” Belgium into Europe, than the VB which wants to undertake the Herculean task of bringing down both Belgium and the EU.

If De Wever can convince Di Rupo that supplanting Belgium by Europe is also in the interest of the Walloon Socialists, because Wallonia will be able to extract as many subsidies from the EU as it does from Flanders, Belgium’s next government centered on N-VA and PS might prove to be unexpectedly stable and to be the most outspoken international proponent of European federalization. De Wever and Di Rupo hope to succeed in forming a government by September 1.

If the tandem De Wever-Di Rupo fails, however, Belgium might be holding new elections within the year and the Flemish-nationalists might flock back to the VB.

VB: Soul Searching Needed

The VB needs to do some soul searching if it is to be a credible alternative to the NVA.  Firstly, the VB needs to resolve its internal discord and present a united front.  Secondly, it needs to develop a coherent platform.  Beyond secession from Belgium and separation from Wallonia, a goal it shares with the NVA, what exactly is the VB’s policy on EU membership for Flanders?  If Flanders leaves the EU, will it be independent or in a union with the Netherlands?


Although I detest the EU in its current form, I prefer reform to abolition.  European integration is a preferable alternative to the balance of power that preceded it.  In 1919 it was clear that although Europe’s weaker nations and ethnic minorities needed self-determination, they also needed security.  The great powers of Europe were able to provide neither.  Churchill’s insistence on the inviolability of Polish sovereignty, and his demands that Warsaw permit Soviet forces to transit through Poland and that it join non-existent confederations with Czechoslovakia or Hungary, testify to the difficulties of guaranteeing self-determination and collective security in Europe.  As NATO fades into history, the VB must offer voters a real alternative to the EU.  After all, Europe has always been integrated in one form or another…


The demographic (i.e. immigration, Islam and crime) issue is certainly a problem, but what is the VB’s solution?  The VB seems to be more focused on bringing up problems than developing solutions.  If the NVA can gain independence and then tackle this issue within the framework of the EU, even if it must overcome resistance from Brussels, why should Flemings vote for a party that does not have a clear plan for independence or post-independence, and is determined to deal with every problem at once?

RE: Soul searching

Captain, check out the VB website. The VB has always stood for a Flemish Republic, though many are very favorable toward intense cooperation with the Netherlands, and rightly so. When Geert Wilders suggested unifying the Netherlands and Flanders, the VB responded that it supported an independent Flemish Republic.

I don't know if the full program is available in English but in any case I can assure you that the VB does have a clear opinion regarding Europe. Nobody in the VB is against European cooperation. All seem to agree that a federal Europe is not in the interest of the peoples of Europe. The alternative for many appears to be the abandonment of the European Union in its present form and seeking to turn the EU in a decentralized EFTA-like organization in which each member state ultimately remains sovereign. Nobody is arguing in favor of a return to the days when the likes of Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin thought they had the right to invade and occupy other nations. Any EU alternative would be based on the recognition of the national sovereignty and present-day borders of each individual European state.

As for Islam, does anyone have the right answers? Of course not. And that includes Wilders. But in order to offer solutions, you first need to recognize there is a problem. That is the first step toward a solution. And the N-VA does not even seem capable of recognizing there is a problem, either because they're too stupid and constrained by shortsighted ideological dogma, or for electoral gain. So at this point you still need to actually convince people there is a problem. A broad societal problem needs unanimous recognition and cannot be solved if 75% of the people think there is nothing to be solved to begin with.

In a debate I once attended, I heard De Wever suggesting a cordon sanitaire around Israel but for some reason the ever-increasing presence of radical Islam in our nations and its growing impact on our societies is a VB fantasy so let's pick on the Jews instead. Pretty pathetic. That reminded me of De Wever's apparent past fondness of Mr. Le Pen. But never mind that. Bringing that up would be politically incorrect since, after all, he's our new Messiah. Peace be upon him.

The media's conveniently ignoring his past but will be quick to point to the sins of youth of any VB member in order to discredit their entire program. The whole campaign was a farce and the disproportionate popularity of the N-VA and its leader is, as far as I'm concerned, the result of a left-wing media circus hell-bent on keeping the people in the dark on the real state of affairs not only of Belgium but that of the whole of the Western world. The results of the elections proved my feeling that the N-VA was a left-wing ploy to be right.

Just a few years ago it would have been INCONCEIVABLE to criticize Belgium in public and state your hope for its collapse. Now even those on the Left have joined the "Flemish-nationalist" bandwagon. All this nonsense about state reform is not getting us anywhere. Unless you think they're sincere about this beast called confederalism. The so-called separatists of the N-VA turned out to be confederalists and so do the former federalist who used to equate any notion of Flemish independence to Nazism.

Bottomline: Those who preach independence and self-rule while at the same time defending full-fledged EU integration and European federalism are not sovereignists, they're really federalists. And hypocrits, I should add. So if the VB needs some soul searching, the rest of the political scene needs a serious integrity and reality check.

N-VA & VB - Walloons voting for the Vlaams Belang

Like several posting here I am an outsider (US citizen of Flemish ethnicity). There are elements of VB and N-VA that appeal to me. There are two observations that surprised me and I thought might be interesting.

First, following the election I exchanged e-mails with a high-ranking VB friend of mine. When I mentioned the election results his response (verbatim) was: "N-VA or VB: a party is just a tool for our goal isn’t it? I stay faithful to mine (party and goal) of course.

The second interesting point was that he shared with me an e-mail he had received from a Walloon resident in the U.S. That e-mail said (and I quote verbatim here, although I have eliminated references that would identify the individual):

"Mijheer Annemans,

 Ik heet XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX.. Ik woon in de USA. Excuse me for writing to you in English. I am a Walloon and since I am registered, I will vote on June 13th.

I agree with 99 % of your program. Independance of Flanders and Wallonia. Reverse the flow of immigration. Stop the Islamisation of western Europe. Abolish this shamefull Monarchy "Taxe-Cobourg"

I registered in XXXXXXXXXX.. I will vote for you, Mister Annemans. I think your victory will be ours. Belgica delenda est. Belgie baarst.

So perhaps Mijnheer Seiyo has hit upon something here?    

De Wever...

...is the new Obama, the Flemish version of the Messiah. Need I say more? The party website is full of articles condemning Israel, but hardly a word condemning with the same vigor the Islamic threat that the West is facing and is coming from within. They claim to be pro-family but in favor of hate crime laws to fight "homophobia"? When asked what it means to be Flemish, Bart Obama says it's merely about learning our language, calling yourself a Fleming and accepting the "Englightenment". I'm afraid that by the modern-day definitions of Western civilization that I'm hearing from "right-wing" politicians, I'm not a Westerner anymore. And please tell me why Flemish Nationalists should actively be supporting Basque or Scottish independence, as the N-VA is doing? That's just none of our business. Also, any party that calls itself Pro-European and Nationalist must be a farce. How can you possibly claim to support national sovereignty and national self-determination when you're actively supporting EU integration. Contradictio in terminis!? Rather than giving the responsibilities of the federal government of Belgium to a future independent Flemish government, i.e. in the hands of the Flemish people, Bart Obama wants to transfer those responsibilities to the EU, further away from the people. And don't even get me started on that sudden hype about "confederalism" that virtually all politicians were full of - besides crap. Seriously, they're supposed to be Flemish Nationalists? Gotta love people's shortsightedness.

@Takuan Seiyo

Your remark is very perceptive. However, three other facts should be taken into consideration:

1) the VB has been torn apart by internal quarrels since 2004. These quarrels have not ended yet. People do not vote for an internally divided party;

2) during the campaign the media did not address the problem of islamization, immigration and crime at all. The press was clearly biased and hyped Bart De Wever;

3) the VB failed to campaign on the Islamization issue. It also failed to mention the crisis surrounding the euro and the EU objectives. It made the strategic mistake of concentrating its campaign exclusively on the Flemish-Walloon issue, thereby conducting a campaign which benefitted N-VA rather than the VB itself.

@Paul Belien

The way it looks to me, an outsider, Flemings have clearly voted for an ethnostate. But by voting NV-A rather than VB they also voted to avoid the touchy issues of immigration and Islam. Ultimately, it means that they want to separate from the Walloons, but not from the Moroccans and Turks. They object to transfer payments to the former, but not to the jizya they are already paying in many ways, including financially, to the latter. I find it richly farcical.


@ Paul Beliën

Europe will definitely cooperate because it would tremendously reïnforce their hold on the different countries.
Flanders however would be totally demolished under the European "state", with absolutely no freedom of any choice anymore, our last cards would be taken away by the French manipulators of Europe and Flanders would de facto become an immigration country with no defense whatsoever against the influx of foreigners.
Brussels would be Great Brussels and Flemish Brabant would "evaporate" into French speaking Brussels.