Expatica news

Belgians split on regional and national identity

26 October 2004

BRUSSELS – A majority of Wallonians and Brussels residents feel that they are Belgians first and French speakers second, while Flemish speakers are more likely to identify first with their region, a new survey has found.

The survey, conducted by Dedicated Research for Le Soir and RTBF, found that some 49 percent of Walloons and 41 percent of Brussels think of themselves as Belgians first.

That figure compares to just 38 percent of Flemish speakers who think of themselves first as Belgians and 14 percent as Europeans. By contrast, some 47 percent of Flems think of themselves as Flemish first.

Not surprisingly, one out of two Flemish respondents also said they would like to see more autonomy for their region. This compares to 27 percent of Walloons and 28 percent of Brussels residents who would like to see their regions autonomous.

So what do Flems and Walloons think of each other?

According to the survey, some 46 percent of Flemish resondents said they felt their francophone counterparts were sponging off social security or living at the expense of their Flemish-speaking compatriots (43 percent).

Only a minority of Wallonian respondents – 6 percent to 10 percent — had the same disparaging remarks about their Flemish counterparts.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news