No speaking French on cell phones in Flanders?
TV channel RTL reported on Tuesday that Flanders is preparing to ban speaking French on mobile telephones – in line with the spirit of April Fools’.2 April 2008
BRUSSELS - Flanders is preparing to ban speaking French on mobile telephones in Belgium's northern Dutch-speaking region ... at least for April Fools, television channel RTL reported on Tuesday.
The spoof news report said that the Flemish city of Meise, just outside of Brussels, had already banned speaking French on mobile phones as a pilot programme that could be extended to the rest of the region.
The channel also pretended that a translator would break into conversations in French and translate into Dutch.
Tensions between Belgium's Dutch and French speaking politicians have run high as they struggled to form a government after a June election in 2007 and only were able to agree a cabinet earlier this month.
RTL's report comes after state-owned Belgian channel RTBF ran a spoof in December 2006 saying that Flanders had decided to split with the rest of Belgium.
The programme, called Bye Bye Belgium, caused great confusion and surprise on the night it was aired and prompted an uproar in the ensuing days by mainly French-speaking politicians.
[Copyright AFP 2008]