Slowly but surely, Belgium will very gently disappear

Some people are convinced that Belgium was only ever a hoax perpetrated by the "Liberati" as part of their plan for world domination ... and that any protest to the contrary was an obvious over-reaction which proved their point:

     

But for those of us that want to see the stateless nations of Europe take our place on the world stage on the same basis as the other countries of the world, Belgium—just like the UK—is a state that does exist, but shouldn't continue to.

Belgium has become increasingly dysfunctional for years, with the people of Flanders increasingly seeing themselves as a nation in their own right, but with Wallonia anxious to maintain the status quo. Last month the fragile federal government broke down again and a snap election was called for today to break the impasse. The results are just coming in [this seems to be a good source] and they show a quite remarkable result for the N-VA, who are Plaid Cymru's partners in the EFA group in the European Parliament. They are currently standing at 28.4% in Flanders and 20.6% in Belgium as a whole. This makes them comfortably the largest party, and this is all the more amazing because they were founded less than ten years ago and were nowhere in the last Belgian election. It looks like Flander's time has come.

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Jill Evans posted details of a press conference they gave last week in response to their rapid rise in the polls, which is worth reading to find out more about them. Like Plaid Cymru and the SNP the N-VA are inclusive, civic nationalists fundamentally opposed to the far right, exclusive nationalism of Vlaams-Belang (who I'm pleased to say did not do well, which was quite a relief following the increased support for the equivalent party in the Netherlands in last week's Dutch election). But unlike Plaid, they are a party of the centre-right rather than the left ... though it should be said that politics in Flanders is generally right-leaning while that of Wallonia generally leans to the left. The biggest party there is the Parti Socialiste, with 35.0% support in Wallonia and 10.3% in Belgium as a whole.

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It will take a while—maybe a long while—for things to become clear as the parties negotiate to form a government, but it does seem clear that Flanders is bound to gain more autonomy, while the power of the federal government will reduce. That's encouraging news for us, because what happens next will provide one model—though not necessarily the only one—for how similar stateless nations in the UK and Spain can move towards independence.

     

Bart De Wever, the N-VA leader, said that he is not looking for outright independence straight away, but to move from the current federal system to a confederal system in which Belgium will "slowly but surely, very gently disappear".

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nothing against Belgium per se, but would like to see an independent Flanders.

It will happen peacefully, they'll sort out Brussels and the EU and Spain will have to accept it.

There just isn't any point to Belgium.

There's nothing Belgium can do which Flanders can't do just as well as an independent state. If the Walloons want to join France, then, that's up to them. Europe will have to accept that democratic decision too.

The'll be a lot of talk of Brussels losing out and NATO and EU and other multinationals leaving. Some may, but most will stay. The industrious Flemmings will make sure their state will one of the most prosperous in Europe.

I think there's a lesson for Plaid in case it decides to go down the Socialist Workers Party route. To create and enterprising nation you have to create an enterprising nationalist party and culture. I like the Walloons but they're going down a cul de sac voting for the Labour Party every time. Time for them to move on.

Anonymous said...

"I think there's a lesson for Plaid in case it decides to go down the Socialist Workers Party route. To create and enterprising nation you have to create an enterprising nationalist party and culture. I like the Walloons but they're going down a cul de sac voting for the Labour Party every time. Time for them to move on."

Flanders is a different country to Wales and although these advances are to be welcomed, it's worth noting that Flanders and Belgium are in a deep financial crisis far worse than the UK. That and the fact that Flanders subsidises Waloonia (like the SE and London do for the rest of the UK) suggests that there probably aren't any transferable lessons for Plaid, but we should still watch with interest.

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