Belgium Celebrates

Belgium today broke the world record for failing to form a government. A crisis? Well, not really. Belgium hardly needs a federal government because most day-to-day government is handled perfectly well by the devolved regions.

So today has become an excuse for festivities:

Belgians digest "world record" with chips and beer and with no clothes on

Flandersnews, 17 February 2011

Not a pretty sight. To avoid a repeat showing it might be a good idea to get something sorted out before the impasse extends to a year.

It's been hard to keep track of events over the past few months, and I'm not going to try and explain them in this post. Probably the most informative site is here. It sums things up quite well.

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Anonymous said...

So out of interest what does the federal government actually do!?

MH said...

Save that for another day, Anon. Meanwhile, there are some more pictures here.

Anonymous said...

Most news outlets lazily ask people in Brussels (usually French-speakers) what they think of the situation. Being francophone they're not happy. They blame the 'politicians' ... conveniently forgetting that they live in a democracy and so vote for these policiticans. There's an en passe because the francophone voters want the right to live in Flanders and not speak Dutch. They'd never allow a situation where parts of Walloonia (or France) became Dutch-speaking.

Before the UK or other 'big states' berate the Flemings (as the Economist did two weeks ago) maybe they should ask if voters in the UK would allow Dover to become a French-speaking town? I think there would be more than a sedate en passe were that to happen here!

All strength to the Flemings for standing their ground. The francophones decided in the 1960s that they didn't want Belgium to be a truly bilingual state i.e. equal treatment for Dutch across Belgium. It was decided then to draw a linguistic border. The French were given allowances to allow some communities some bilingual facilities on the road to become Dutch-speaking. The francophones have by and large refused to become Dutch-speaking (although it was expected that Dutch-speakers moving to Wallonia would become French-speaking).

The Flemings only ask what over nation states take for granted. In the UK you have to learn English - Labour and Tory governments agree on this and have strengthened the law. The same applies to France or Spain. Why should Dutch accept anything less?


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