King warns against separatism, extremism
31 January 2006, BRUSSELS — Belgium's King Albert II has warned the nation's government authorities against separatism in his annual New Year's address.
31 January 2006
BRUSSELS — Belgium's King Albert II has warned the nation's government authorities against separatism in his annual New Year's address.
The monarch said inequality and the financial transfers between regions may pose a problem, but separatism is no solution.
King Albert said separatism was "anachronistic and disastrous" and would damage Brussels' international role and the image of the nation.
"Fractures and divisions are primarily expensive for all those involved, whether they are rich or less prosperous," he said.
"The human price must certainly not be forgotten either; making light of this would be a grave error. People must not have any illusions about these issues".
King Albert also said tensions between the regions can be traced back to a difference in policy and prosperity, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported on Tuesday.
"Offering an answer to these differences in prosperity and policy requires people on all levels — both European, national and regional — to draw up a development that bears fruit for everyone," he said.
"There is certainly much to be done, but for goodness sake, let's not make hasty decisions based on certain economic differences. Let us meet the challenges with courage and valorise our trump cards to the maximum."
Albert also addressed the "tensions between some immigrant groups and the native population". He referred to the rioting of youths in Paris last year, a situation which threatened to cross the border into Belgium.
"Certain extremist parties capitalise on that," King Albert warned.
He said the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia had attributed much of the tension on the fact that many immigrant youths don't see any future in society.
The King said priorities in government policy must be drawn up addressing the education and employment of ethnic youths.
He also warned against extremism, stressing that anyone who tries to use society's problems to spread racism must realise they are liable to prosecution.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news