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Gingersnap
04-23-2010, 02:20 PM
Future of Belgium under threat over language row

The "survival" of Belgium as a unified country was called into question last night after a row between French and Dutch speakers brought the government to the verge of collapse.

By Henry Samuel, Paris
Published: 5:44PM BST 22 Apr 2010

The wrangle has already brought down the government four times in the past three years but the latest spat is the gravest yet and threatens to split the country into Flemish areas and French-speaking areas.

King Albert II warned politicians that the political crisis "seriously threatens" the country's role in Europe, after the Prime Minister, Yves Leterme tendered his resignation.

Mr Leterme stepped down after talks broke down over plants to give French speakers in the suburbs of Brussels special voting powers which the Flemish parties want to see denied.

The failure to reach a deal led the Flemish liberal party, Open VLD, to pull out of the five-party ruling coalition and just hours later Mr Leterme resigned. King Albert has delayed a decision on whether to accept the resignation.

Dutch speakers make up 60 percent of the population in Belgium, where only the capital Brussels is officially bilingual. Prosperous Dutch-speaking Flanders in the north wants greater autonomy, whereas poorer, French-speaking Wallonia in the south argues enough powers have been devolved.

But.....they're all bilingual and multicultural and European and everything. Everything we're supposed to want. I can't understand how those policies have......failed. :confused:

Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belgium/7620515/Future-of-Belgium-under-threat-over-language-row.html)

hampshirebrit
04-23-2010, 02:31 PM
All the real work gets done by Vlaams speakers in the North, as far as I can tell. The work ethic is better than in the French-speaking parts.

bijou
04-23-2010, 02:33 PM
Would anyone miss Belgium as an entity if it broke up? I can't see it affecting my life much.

Gingersnap
04-23-2010, 02:35 PM
Would anyone miss Belgium as an entity if it broke up? I can't see it affecting my life much.

The beer and the chocolates would still be secure, right? That's my main interest.

djones520
04-23-2010, 02:35 PM
All the real work gets done by Vlaams speakers in the North, as far as I can tell. The work ethic is better than in the French-speaking parts.

Somehow I'm not suprised that the people who bitch about a 30 hour work week have a poor work ethic. :rolleyes:

hampshirebrit
04-23-2010, 02:41 PM
Would anyone miss Belgium as an entity if it broke up? I can't see it affecting my life much.


I love the place (well the Vlaams bits, anyway). Good beer, good chocolate, nice architecture and busty Belgian lasses on bicycles.

As it happens, I will be there next week (assuming I can find some means of transportation that isn't fully booked).

bijou
04-23-2010, 02:43 PM
The beer and the chocolates would still be secure, right? That's my main interest.

They aren't going anywhere, they may have to be renamed as 'Insert name of new country'chocolate/beer, a small sacrifice.

Gingersnap
04-23-2010, 02:47 PM
They aren't going anywhere, they may have to be renamed as 'Insert name of new country'chocolate/beer, a small sacrifice.

Well, that's okay then. Ordering a Flemish beer would be fun. 'Wallonian beer' sounds kind of stupid, though.

Articulate_Ape
04-23-2010, 03:02 PM
Would anyone miss Belgium as an entity if it broke up?



They'd miss it because you would be able to drive through each half in about five minutes.

fettpett
04-23-2010, 11:05 PM
this is like 300 years in the making. the French and Flemish areas have never gotten along. If it hadn't been for WW1 and WW2 they probably wouldn't have lasted this long