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  • Yes, Belgium should separate.

    4 36.36%
  • No, Belgium should stay intact.

    3 27.27%
  • I couldn't care less.

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Thread: Should Belgium Separate?

  1. #1
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    Should Belgium Separate?



    For many years, many of the Vlaams (Flemish) and Walloons have felt that their rights are being infringed upon, that French-speaking Belgians are reducing the amount Dutch-speaking Belgians (and vice-versa), and other concerns. Thus, many Belgians want the nation to separate.

    Belgium has had times where many people have wanted Belgium to separate. However, at present, there is argurably the most support for the separation of Belgium than ever before.

    But how will this proceed? Will Belgium actually separate? Will be Wallonia and Flanders be independent states? And if so, what will become of Brussels? Will it become a city-state, or perhaps an EU Capital District? And what will happen to the German-speak Community of Belgium?

    What do you think Eupedians? Post below, or vote in the poll above!

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    Country: Belgium - Flanders



    it's the Walloon socialist party that wants to keep the status-quo for the whole of Belgium for as long as possible
    their allies are the political establishment

    let's see after the 25 may election whether they still get away with that

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    I posted 7 years ago about the likelihood of Belgium splitting up and whether Flanders should divorce Wallonia, and my views remain the same now since not much has changed.
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    I have some questions for you, Maciamo.

    You suggest that many Flemish people (although not all) would like to separate from Wallonia, and want Brussels to remain the capital of the Flemish people. So, how is that viewpoint affected by all the jobs that the EU provides in Brussels? If the Flemish speaking part of Belgium separated from Wallonia and insisted on keeping Brussels, wouldn't France probably push to move EU functions out of Brussels, resulting in a loss of jobs? Since Germany probably doesn't care one way or another, they might go along with such changes just to keep the French happy. Does that possibility lessen the enthusiasm of some Flemish speaking people for separation?

    Also, you suggested that the best approach might be some sort of confederation with the Flemish nothern area and Wallonia each being fairly autonomous, with Brussels perhaps being a third entity in the confederacy. That sounds good in theory, but would it really end the quarelling? As long as Wallonia is poorer, won't the Walloons continue to want and expect subsidies and be dissatisfied with the arrangement unless they get financial help from the rest of Belgium?

    As you probably know, there is a separatist movement here in Canada, caused by the fact that one province (Quebec) is mostly French and they don't like being a minority language group, so they're always saying that they want a system they call "sovereignty association", which apparently means that they want to act like a separate nation while still receiving federal subsidies. Quebec is a poor province with a lot of unemployment and it receives a lot of federal money, and also benefits from laws and regulations designed to keep some jobs in Quebec artificially. French Quebecers want to keep that system while being able to act like a separate government. That's why a lot of English speaking people would be glad to see that back of Quebec if it was on one end of the country instead of in the middle. But because of where it's located, we have to try to keep the country together. However, the geography of Belgium is such that it could be split in two, with only Brussels being a point of contention. That makes the idea of a confederacy easy, but if the two halves continued to quarrel about money, would it not also be simple for the northern part of Belgian to get fed up and say "go away Wallonia - you're on your own"? But would the EU jobs in Brussels make that impossible?
    Last edited by Aberdeen; 17-03-14 at 04:10. Reason: Added one more sentence/question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    I have some questions for you, Maciamo.

    You suggest that many Flemish people (although not all) would like to separate from Wallonia, and want Brussels to remain the capital of the Flemish people.

    Also, you suggested that the best approach might be some sort of confederation with the Flemish nothern area and Wallonia each being fairly autonomous, with Brussels perhaps being a third entity in the confederacy. That sounds good in theory, but would it really end the quarelling? As long as Wallonia is poorer, won't the Walloons continue to want and expect subsidies and be dissatisfied with the arrangement unless they get financial help from the rest of Belgium?

    As you probably know, there is a separatist movement here in Canada, caused by the fact that one province (Quebec) is mostly French and they don't like being a minority language group, so they're always saying that they want a system they call "sovereignty association", which apparently means that they want to act like a separate nation while still receiving federal subsidies. Quebec is a poor province with a lot of unemployment and it receives a lot of federal money, and also benefits from laws and regulations designed to keep some jobs in Quebec artificially.
    In Belgium it is the other way around.
    Wallonia used to be the heart of the industrial revolution on the continent in the 1st half of the 19th century, with coal mines and steel and prosperity.
    Flanders was poor, many Flemish people went to work in Walloon coalmines.
    Now it is the other way around.
    Flanders has developped a new economy, the old Walloon coal and iron industry has gone, while Walloon socialists always tried to maintain status quo, suffocating economical reconversion. It is Flanders that has to pay the bill for this diseaster.
    Flanders wants to stop this, but socialists are very strong in Wallonia. Flemmish voters are more liberal, but in order to form a government they always have to negotiate with the Walloon socialists.
    If the Flemish want to seperate in a legal way - nobody is suggesting the use of violence or power - the Walloons will put a big price tag on it.

    Brussels is another big problem. It is very bad governed, with complicated structures and lots of power for the local town mayors, who only care for their local voters and for local issues. The unemployment in Brussels is even higher than in Wallonia and they have big deficits which have to be financed again by the Flemish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    it's the Walloon socialist party that wants to keep the status-quo for the whole of Belgium for as long as possible
    their allies are the political establishment

    let's see after the 25 may election whether they still get away with that
    Hopefully the Walloon Socialist Party and their allies will not get reelected; and Belgium will separate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    In Belgium it is the other way around.
    Wallonia used to be the heart of the industrial revolution on the continent in the 1st half of the 19th century, with coal mines and steel and prosperity.
    Flanders was poor, many Flemish people went to work in Walloon coalmines.
    Now it is the other way around.
    Flanders has developped a new economy, the old Walloon coal and iron industry has gone, while Walloon socialists always tried to maintain status quo, suffocating economical reconversion. It is Flanders that has to pay the bill for this diseaster.
    Flanders wants to stop this, but socialists are very strong in Wallonia. Flemmish voters are more liberal, but in order to form a government they always have to negotiate with the Walloon socialists.
    If the Flemish want to seperate in a legal way - nobody is suggesting the use of violence or power - the Walloons will put a big price tag on it.

    Brussels is another big problem. It is very bad governed, with complicated structures and lots of power for the local town mayors, who only care for their local voters and for local issues. The unemployment in Brussels is even higher than in Wallonia and they have big deficits which have to be financed again by the Flemish.
    Yes, I was aware of all this, except for the high rate of unemployment in Brussels - I would have thought that the EU presence would have created a number of well paying jobs. But your comments don't actually address my questions. I don't think that more regional autonomy will prevent quarrels between the part of Belgium that wants subsidies and the more prosperous part that has to pay for such subsidies. So I would expect the end result of any push for more regional autonomy would be a complete breakup of the country into two or possibly three separate countries, except that such a solution might be rejected for fear that it could result in some EU functions being moved to another country. I was wondering whether someone who lives in Belgium could tell me whether either of those assumptions are valid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coolboygcp View Post
    Hopefully the Walloon Socialist Party and their allies will not get reelected; and Belgium will separate.
    The socialists are very strong in Wallonia, and there is something viscious about it : the more the Flemish pay to support the nation, the stronger the socialists get in Wallonia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    Yes, I was aware of all this, except for the high rate of unemployment in Brussels - I would have thought that the EU presence would have created a number of well paying jobs. But your comments don't actually address my questions. I don't think that more regional autonomy will prevent quarrels between the part of Belgium that wants subsidies and the more prosperous part that has to pay for such subsidies. So I would expect the end result of any push for more regional autonomy would be a complete breakup of the country into two or possibly three separate countries, except that such a solution might be rejected for fear that it could result in some EU functions being moved to another country. I was wondering whether someone who lives in Belgium could tell me whether either of those assumptions are valid.
    Unemployment in Brussels is high because of many immigrants without any education. They don't speak Flemish and they hardly speak French. They don't do any effort to become fit for a job, they live on welfare and the town mayors keep it like that, because the welfare is paid by the federal Belgian state.

    Nobody realy knows what should happen to Brussels when Belgium would split. Both Flemish and Walloons want Brussels to stay capital of Europe, but they don't expect that EU functions will move away, it is not an issue for the moment.

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    Okay, so neither Flemish nor Walloons think that separation will affect whether Brussels remains the centre of the EU. As for partial autonomy, if we look at what happened with Scotland, partial "devolution" of government from England lead to plans for a vote on complete separation, because both Scots and English think that the present system is unfair for them. If that happens in Belgium, I think the Walloons will be unhappy with the results, once there are no more federal subsidies. Maybe they'd try to join France, but if that happens, they might find they don't like life as citizens of France, since it's very much a centralized government and regions can be neglected to some extent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    The socialists are very strong in Wallonia, and there is something viscious about it : the more the Flemish pay to support the nation, the stronger the socialists get in Wallonia.
    It's the same in Canada. The separatist party isn't socialist but its success in Quebec depends on how many concessions it can get from the rest of Canada. If Quebec francophones decide that the rest of Canada is getting fed up with separatist demands, they quit voting for the separatist party. But if the federal government tries the appeasement approach, that always results in more votes for the separatist party.

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    Separation seems to be a popular theme in Europe these days. This article is from the Huffington Post.

    "The area around Venice, in northern Italy, is holding an online referendum this week on whether or not to separate from the rest of the country. Polls suggest two-thirds of the four million voters in Venice and the surrounding area, which encompasses the cities of Treviso, Vincenza and Verona, support secession, the U.K.'s The Week reports. The Italian media hasn't been paying much attention to the referendum, which is not legally binding, but some voters say if a majority vote yes, they will start withholding taxes and pay them to the local authorities instead, a movement spokesman told the Daily Telegraph. Supporters of separation want to see the creation of a state called the Republic of Veneto. Their dissatisfaction stems from a broad sentiment that the wealthier northern region doesn't benefit enough from the tax revenue it provides and that a disproportionate amount of that money is wasted by Rome and the poorer south. While the desire for independence may come as a surprise to many non-Italians, Venice has been a separate state for far longer than it has been part of Italy. It was its own autonomous region for more than a thousand years until 1797, when Napoleon conquered the area and it subsequently became part of Austria. Venice joined Italy in 1866. But Venetians aren't the only ones in Europe interested in secession. Scotland will hold its own referendum in September on leaving the U.K., and the Spanish region of Catalonia is planning a vote for Nov. 9, although Spain's government has pledged to stop it from happening."

    So perhaps there will eventually be hundreds or thousands of city states in a united EU. Then the various city states, rich and poor, can fight about state subsidies on an European level, without it being a national issue. Hmmm. Perhaps separation will solve nothing.

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    I think that the following should happen.

    A referendum should be put forward, concerning the future of the Belgian state.

    If the people vote for separation, which is most likely, the the following should happen in my opinion:

    Flanders should become an independent nation.
    Wallonia should become an independent nation.
    Brussels should become an EU Capital District.
    The German-speaking Community should become an independent nation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    The socialists are very strong in Wallonia, and there is something viscious about it : the more the Flemish pay to support the nation, the stronger the socialists get in Wallonia.
    Hmm. I wonder why this is. Perhaps the more money the Flemish give them, the stronger socialism gets in Wallonia; because they want to rebel against the establishment and the Flemish people.

    What do you think should happen to Belgium?

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    Generally the trend in all Europe is for stronger regional and ethnic independence or strong autonomy, and as such belonging to big EU. I consider it a natural process, healthy and unstoppable. In hundred years map of Europe will show hundreds of autonomic regions (under EU) with all today's countries disintegrated/dissolved (in peaceful process). Just because there will be no need for an extra level of government, national governments.

    Anyway, in the future the Robots will be working in factories around Europe but everybody will live around Mediterranean Sea. In this scenario all people of Europe will mix quickly, live in south, will speak english and belong to EU only.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    Generally the trend in all Europe is for stronger regional and ethnic independence or strong autonomy, and as such belonging to big EU. I consider it a natural process, healthy and unstoppable. In hundred years map of Europe will show hundreds of autonomic regions (under EU) with all today's countries disintegrated/dissolved (in peaceful process). Just because there will be no need for an extra level of government, national governments.

    Anyway, in the future the Robots will be working in factories around Europe but everybody will live around Mediterranean Sea. In this scenario all people of Europe will mix quickly, live in south, will speak english and belong to EU only.
    And the president of the EU will be Jean Luc Picard.

    Sorry, I don't think things will turn out that way. It's a nice dream, but the Germans are already unwilling to bail out Greece or Spain. Why do you think that Bavaria or Hesse would be willing to bail out Corfu or Catalona when those areas run into financial problems? And not everyone wants to live around the Mediterranean Sea. I wilt in the heat, and I suspect that a lot of European I1 types react in the same way to excess heat.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    And the president of the EU will be Jean Luc Picard.

    Sorry, I don't think things will turn out that way. It's a nice dream, but the Germans are already unwilling to bail out Greece or Spain. Why do you think that Bavaria or Hesse would be willing to bail out Corfu or Catalona when those areas run into financial problems? And not everyone wants to live around the Mediterranean Sea. I wilt in the heat, and I suspect that a lot of European I1 types react in the same way to excess heat.
    Remember WW2 mess? Who expected that 60 years later there will be one EU with Germany as a leader and being liked by most. Prosperity brings freedoms to people. People will be free to live and work wherever, speaking languages, and marry whoever. Nationalism will lose its meaning and importance. It will be steady and natural process.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coolboygcp View Post
    Hmm. I wonder why this is. Perhaps the more money the Flemish give them, the stronger socialism gets in Wallonia; because they want to rebel against the establishment and the Flemish people.

    What do you think should happen to Belgium?
    The Walloon socialists are no rebels, they are the establishment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    Generally the trend in all Europe is for stronger regional and ethnic independence or strong autonomy, and as such belonging to big EU. I consider it a natural process, healthy and unstoppable. In hundred years map of Europe will show hundreds of autonomic regions (under EU) with all today's countries disintegrated/dissolved (in peaceful process). Just because there will be no need for an extra level of government, national governments.
    I agree. We will see a lot of smaller independent entities in the future, it is just a part of the collective evolution in Europe.

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    I said for many years, If you want an EU then destroy all nations in the EU and have regional areas............If you want nations , then destroy the EU

    As for the topic, ...........nations come and go, but culture remain, do we really care if Europe get another, 10, 20 or 30 "nations"?.............they will be cheaper to bail out if they fail
    có che un pòpoło no 'l defende pi ła só łéngua el xe prónto par èser s'ciavo

    when a people no longer dares to defend its language it is ripe for slavery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coolboygcp View Post
    I think that the following should happen.

    A referendum should be put forward, concerning the future of the Belgian state.

    If the people vote for separation, which is most likely, the the following should happen in my opinion:

    Flanders should become an independent nation.
    Wallonia should become an independent nation.
    Brussels should become an EU Capital District.
    The German-speaking Community should become an independent nation.
    It's not as simple as that.

    1) Not all Flemings want independence. Even those in favour don't want it without Brussels.

    2) Most Walloons want a unified Belgium. Should the country split, there is no consensus between Walloons as whether they should be an independent country or join France. Actually most Walloons cannot conceive an independent Wallonia without Brussels. I like to compare Belgium's case to Israel and Palestine, without the religious and ethnic divide. Both Israeli and Palestinians see Jerusalem as their capital and can't imagine their respective country without it. The Flemings and Walloons and the same feeling toward Brussels. Brussels is historically a Flemish city but is 80% French-speaking, and most French-speaking Brusselers either have roots in Wallonia or relatives in Wallonia.

    3) The German-speaking Community is only 75,000 people. They don't even have a city. They would either stay with Wallonia or join Luxembourg, with whom they share a border too and feel close due to their bilingual German/French education.

    4) Another possibility, rarely mentioned but which makes a lot of sense in my opinion, is that Brussels, Wallonia (incl. German-speakers) and Luxembourg form a new state. After all Luxembourg was always part of Belgium historically, even when Belgium became an independent country in 1830. In 1839, the Netherlands asked the Belgian state that the historical duchy of Luxembourg be split in two, with the eastern half form an independent country with the Dutch king as its Grand Duke, in exchange for the recognition of the independence of Belgium. Nowadays half of historical Luxembourg is in Wallonia. Since Wallonia also has a German-speaking community and that half of it was historically part of Germany (Principality of Liège/Lüttich), it is only logical that Wallonia and Luxembourg should be part of the same country.

    Furthermore, both Brussels and Luxembourg hold seats of European institutions, so the whole Brussels-Wallonia-Luxembourg region could be unified as a European district similar to Washington DC. The impoverishment of Wallonia is mainly caused by the economic exile of the brightest Walloons to Brussels and Luxembourg, which border each extremity of Wallonia. I grew up in Wallonia and I know that almost any Walloon who wants to have a proper job goes to Brussels or Luxembourg (or further away, Paris and London being quite popular).

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    The Walloon socialists are no rebels, they are the establishment.
    I was referring to the Flemish establishment, not the Walloon establishment. I do not think that they are rebels, but I think that socialism becomes more popular in Wallonia because the Flemish subsidise Wallonia, and as the subsidise Wallonia, the Walloons vote for the socialists, as they want to rebel against the Flemish establishment. Kind of like a teenager rebelling against their parents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    And the president of the EU will be Jean Luc Picard.

    Sorry, I don't think things will turn out that way. It's a nice dream, but the Germans are already unwilling to bail out Greece or Spain. Why do you think that Bavaria or Hesse would be willing to bail out Corfu or Catalona when those areas run into financial problems? And not everyone wants to live around the Mediterranean Sea. I wilt in the heat, and I suspect that a lot of European I1 types react in the same way to excess heat.
    Ed. It didn't post. I'll try to retrieve it.

    Except for your comment about not being willing to live around the Mediterranean , I completely agree.

    I don't understand why there is all this optimism about the effects of the devolution of certain nation states in Europe.

    Perhaps I'm a cynic, or a pessimist who thinks history is doomed to repeat itself, but I don't think people change, and I don't think certain nation states change, nation states that I don't think will allow their nations to devolve, and I think these little "autonomous" regions will wind up the pawns of bureaucrats in Brussels or of the larger still intact nation states both within and outside the borders of the EU.

    In my personal opinion, if a region wants to leave the national entity, then they should also leave all their national pensions, and subsidies, and national health care plans behind too. And that's just for starters. All national police forces, emergency services, you name it, get withdrawn too, in addition to the protection of the national armed services. Put all your trust in the proverbial good will of other regions and nation states around you. No half measures...Good luck with that.

    Oh, and all the less well off regions will eventually be bailed out anyway, and by resources taken not only from Germany, but from many of these newly autonomous regions, if they are prosperous. Not only would it be dangerous if the poorer areas were not bailed out, but you need lots of buyers for the factory output that supports the whole system.

    I found this Economist article about the situation in Scotland very interesting.
    http://www.economist.com/news/specia...ing-centrifuge


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    Quote Originally Posted by FBS View Post
    I agree. We will see a lot of smaller independent entities in the future, it is just a part of the collective evolution in Europe.
    I also agree with both LeBrok and you. Within a few decades, Europe will probably be made up of a hundred or so nations, all united under the banner of The European Union.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sile View Post
    I said for many years, If you want an EU then destroy all nations in the EU and have regional areas............If you want nations , then destroy the EU

    As for the topic, ...........nations come and go, but culture remain, do we really care if Europe get another, 10, 20 or 30 "nations"?.............they will be cheaper to bail out if they fail
    Well, I lean towards the former. It is inevitable that the future of Europe is in new small nations, united under the EU. Yes, they will still be in the EU, and some say that not much will change when these smaller nations are formed as they will still be part of the EU. I do not agree with that, yes they will have the same currency, laws, etc. But they will have a state devoted to their own culture, which is good. We see in larger nations like Spain that the different regional cultures become marginalised when they are suppressed by a large country like that. However some countries, like the UK, do not need to be dissolved. I say this because the majority of Britons do not support that occurring, and devolution has occurred to such an extent that independence is not needed for those constituent countries.

    Also in countries like Finland, Estonia, etc; there aren't many cultural differences between the regions; thus dissolution of those countries is not needed. But countries such as Belgium, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Germany, Poland, and much more, it is needed, and it will happen in the future.

    And yes, I really care if Europe gets more nations, as it does matter, as I have noted above.

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