Even though I’m not really into politics that much, currently we are having a very interesting political episode going down in our little country.
If you know Belgium you also know that the country is split up into several parts, making things rather complicated to govern.
As the federal elections took place a few months ago and a new federal government is supposed to be formed, things are getting a bit out of hand between the Flemish and French-speaking politicians.
You see, the Flemish part is currently the wealthiest, and the Walloon part is sort of depending on us. Due to a long history of negotiations and cutting deals between the French and Flemish parts a lot of odd situations have arisen over the decades and the Flemish side wants to get those sorted now.
Problem is the Walloons like things just the way they are. They fear that any kind of change will be in their disadvantage. A lot of these issues are silly when you look at them however, and that counts both ways.
It’s not a crisis just yet, but it’s getting pretty darn close to it now. The King even got involved over the weekend trying to get the parties to work together, which only happens if things are truly in a rut. The separatists that always wanted to see Belgium split up into its linguistic regions are louder than ever at this time of course, but frankly I don’t think that is a realistic solution anyway.
Belgium is small as it is, and splitting it up into even smaller parts is ridiculous IMO. Besides, the arguments that plead for the split are mostly based on a number of unfair rulings from the past, which can still be set straight. Both parts need each other in some degree. Without Wallonia, Flanders will never reach the Kyoto norm on its own for instance, just to give an example.
It’s mostly a political thing anyway, with a bunch of politicians who now do not want to back down and lose face, and the support of their voters. This is only augmented by the media (RTBF, I’m looking at you) who are putting some oil on the fire, heating up opinions, and making it even harder to build a compromise.
How this will turn out is hard to predict, but I’m hoping that no side has to roll over for the other. This counts specifically the Flemish side, since that is what has happened enough in the past already.
Politically and historically this could be an important milestone to grow into a stronger and better Belgium, but it’s going to need the will of politicians from both sides to work together to accomplish this.