The Death of a Nation

Belgium is in danger of falling apart, and its fate of should interest all Europeans, especially those who wish the European Union well. For what is happening in Belgium now could end up happening on a continental scale.

Belgium is in danger of falling apart. For more than six months, the country has been unable to form a government that is able to unite the French-speaking Walloons (32%) and Dutch-speaking Flemish (58%). The Belgian monarch, Albert II, is desperately trying to stop his subjects from breaking up the state.

Apart from the King (who might be out of a job), who cares? First of all, the Walloons do. Although the French-speaking Belgians started the European Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century, they are now living in a deprived rustbelt in need of federal subsidies, a substantial amount of which comes from taxes paid by the more prosperous, high-tech Flemish. A handful of right-wing Dutch dreamers care, too, for they have visions of uniting Belgian Flanders with the Dutch motherland.

Alas for them, however, the Flemish have no such desire. Belgium, after all, became an independent state in 1830, precisely in order to liberate the Catholic Flemish, as well as the Walloons, from being second-class subjects in a Protestant Dutch monarchy.

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