Belgium risks political chaos if talks fail

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The Belgian politician leading marathon talks aimed at forming a new government warned Monday of "political chaos" if Flemish and francophone parties fail to agree.

BRUSSELS - Socialist francophone leader Elio Di Rupo offered to stand down on Sunday after the talks between the two sides broke down, but King Albert II refused and asked him to resume his role as lead negotiator.

The seven-party talks have dragged on for nearly three months since Flemish nationalists, the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), triumphed in Flanders in the June legislative elections.

"The parties that refuse a balanced compromise will plunge our country into the unknown, or even political chaos," Di Rupo told a press conference.

The main stumbling blocks include the future of francophone suburbs of Brussels that lie within Dutch-speaking Flanders, the refinancing of the national capital region and a new federal financing law.

Di Rupo, whose Socialist party came out on top in the French-speaking Wallonia region in June, said he hoped that "reason will finally prevail."

Should Di Rupo succeed in forming a government, he would be Belgium's first francophone head of government since Paul Vanden Boeynants, a Brussels Christian Democrat who was prime minister from October 1978 to April 1979.

A country of 10.5 million people, 60 percent Flemish, Belgium already has heavily devolved regional governments, divided along linguistic lines.


3 Comments To This Article

  • Michael posted:

    on 6th September 2010, 01:07:07 - Reply

    French has been spoken in Brabant for centuries, and in the suburbs since well before the fake language border was created. Brussels isn't a colony, incidentally. It's a region of its own. Check the constitution.

    Belgium spent a lot of time building Brussels into an international city. It's a little odd to be pretending it's a Flemish village which has been invaded by French people.

    The bad financial situation in Brussels might also be due to the fact that the income tax from its suburbs go to Flanders.

    If more Dutch speakers lived in Brussels, maybe more Dutch would be spoken there.
  • Norbert posted:

    on 2nd September 2010, 08:23:11 - Reply

    Brussels today, a city where only 50% of people speak French at home , the remainder speaking other languages be it Dutch, English, Arabic, Turkish or Polish, is in its roots a Flemish town, that by cultural colonisation since 1830 seems to be a French speaking town.

    French has been imposed on Flemish people by French dictatorial rule, for more as 150 years, Flemish schools in Brussels banned in the past. Still bilingualism isn't accepted by the French, what makes that they cannot find easily a job outside Brussels, their colony.

    All flemish villages that have been integrated in Brussels be it Schaerbeek, Molenbeek, Anderlecht, Evere, Woluwe, etc they all were Flemish and have been colonised by people who refuse to integrate in the Flemish community.

    French people here in BHV are cultural colonist, and as everybody knows, colonists aren't welcomed the world over. French people should know, they have been pushed out in many a country (after cruel wars in Algeria, Vietnam, etc).

    In Belgium, moreover, the PS, a socialist party, is corrupt in its roots. The bad financial and budget situation in Brussels and Wallony is the result of corrupt management.
  • Michael posted:

    on 1st September 2010, 18:21:46 - Reply

    As anyone who has moved to the suburbs will know, they are not supposed to Brussels. Except that they are, of course. What was once a mildly amusing Belgian anomaly has inevitably become a major political issue. I can' see how Brussels can be contained within the city centre alone.