PJC Journal has a post on the apparently imminent break-up of Belgium and an article in Le Figaro calling on President Sarkozy of France to prepare for the annexation of Wallonia, the French speaking region of Belgium.
It’s no secret that Belgium has been on the rocks for a while. Flanders has had an independence movement for a long time and the already tenuous union of four regions speaking different languages has been weak for years, partly due to cultural differences and partly due to money.
The Flemish region has been subsidising Wallonia for years and opposition to this state of affairs is increasing. The threat of break-up is now so real that the King has summoned his Crown Council to try and resolve the problem.
What is now Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were once united as a single country but in the late 1500′s an 80 year war started which resulted in the Netherlands (including Luxembourg) gaining independence from Spain and Belgium remaining under Spanish rule. Luxembourg subsequently split from the Netherlands when the Dutch Crown passed to a woman and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg passed to the Dutch Queen’s cousin.
The situation in Belgium is strangely similar to the situation in the UK. Four “regions”, all of which have their own culture, history, heritage and language (Dutch, French, German, Flemish/English, Welsh, Scots Gaelic, Irish Gaelic). One of the “regions” (Flemish/England) subsidises the others but one of the subsidised regions (Flanders/Scotland) is full of resentment for its wealthier neighbour and wants independence.
It looks like it’s only a matter of time before Belgium – the multi-national, multi-cultural federation on which the EU is modelled – ceases to exist and with a bit of luck the EU and the UK will follow suit.