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Belgium "splits"
FN Posted: Thu Dec 14 11:22:13 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I was wondering if anybody heard from this or wether it isn't known outside of the country



http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6178671.stm


 
addi Posted: Thu Dec 14 11:33:26 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  : )

Hadn't heard a thing.

All they needed to add was that Martian Aliens were now invading the french part of the country.


 
FN Posted: Thu Dec 14 11:57:55 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Some more related links:

http://www.rtbf.be/info/societe/ARTICLE_058177#

http://www.telegraaf.nl/buitenland/55394571/Belgi%EB_in_ban_van_nepjournaal_over_splitsing_land.html?p=7,1




Basicly, what happened is this:


In Belgium you have a northern and a southern part, the northern part being Flemish, the southern part being Walloon, and speaking French instead of Dutch/Flemish.

Flanders is *far* more prosperous than the southern part due to socio-economic history, unemployment and abuse of social security is rampant in the southern part (which isn't to say there's none of that in Flanders, but Flanders is one of the most prosperous regions of the EU/world, Wallonia ranks among the worst in the EU).

Because the southern part can't pay for it all, the northern part, Flanders, has to keep its siamese twin running by transferring billions of euro's a year to it with no return except it being 1 country.

To add insult to injury, the PS (Parti Socialiste) has the majority in Wallonia, and has had it for as long as I can remember. This results in Wallonia digging themselves in deeper and deeper.

Now here's the tricky part:

Belgium is a federal country, which results in Flanders and Wallonia being autonomous in a lot of different aspects of government (think stuff like trafic policies, registration taxes,...), however, on a federal level, where laws are made for both parts, they have to work together.

Naturally, the PS-dominated French speaking part does not want to give up any of their social security/adjust their policies, and keeps on getting into more and more trouble, with families leeching of social securities for several generations etc.

The Flemish side on its part tries to draw as much authority as possible away from the federal level, the Wallonian politicians try to pull as much as possible to the federal level so they can keep their benefits, and more importantly Belgium united so they can keep the money transfers.

Wallonia is also very monarchistic, while Flanders is republican (again, one part wants the country to stay as one part at all costs, the other side has nothing to lose from parting, except from not losing any more money over it but having to deal with all the hassle a split would bring along on all the levels of politics, also European, obviously).

The result is that seperatism is dormant in a lot of Flemings, and in some cases is being taken a bit further, in particular int he case of the seperatist extreme right party in Flanders, which is the largest party by itself but has never come to power because the other parties refuse to side with it to make a majority (the "cordon sanitaire"), but that's another discussion.


Naturally, Walloons are very edgy about Flanders declaring independance because they'd be screwed in a very big way, and for Flanders it would mean a lot of extra money to spend on itself.


You think it's complicated? The best is yet to come:

Apart from the fact that a founding country of the EU would decide to split in half seems rather weird, there's the issue concerning the capital, Brussels.

It has a seperate regional government, next to the Flemish and Walloon one, and works with them on the federal level.

I think it's like how you have different states in the US that also get together on a federal level, more or less.


Brussels however lies entirely in Flemish territory, yet if a split would occur, both Flanders and Wallonia want it. Flanders because it is in Flemish territory, Wallonia because, strange as it may be as it is entirely in Flemish territory, the majority of the people who live in Brussels speak French.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.


So that's the background in a very, very, very tiny nutshell (it's all more complicated and sensitive than the above but this was probably boring enough already ;o)


So on wednesday, the RTBF, the part of the state channel for the southern side, interrupted the programing for a special news broadcast and announced that Flanders had separated and the king had left the country, along with some riots and festivities resulting from the independance.

Keep in mind that the announcements were made by the usual newsreaders and in the regular news program style, supported by faked video clips and interviews. And then half an hour into the broadcast a message appeared on screen saying it wasn't real, but by then the damage had been done already, as several ambassadors had already notified their home countries about the situations and calls started pouring in at the governments about what was going on, from civilians and other countries, and apparantly it was picked up on by some of the foreign press as well but I don't know wether anybody really noticed.





My personal opinion on it:

The people responsible should be fired, the reason being that this might have desastrous consequences for the credibility of journalism and the follow up of news broadcasts in case of serious/dangerous events. Crying wolf taken a bridge too far.


 
FN Posted: Thu Dec 14 12:01:05 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Apparantly wikipedia already has something up about it as well:


http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89mission_sp%C3%A9ciale_de_La_Une_du_13_d%C3%A9cembre_2006


 
libra Posted: Thu Dec 14 12:05:29 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I think Christophe wins the prize for writing the longest posts. I'm always amazed by how much he can write in a response.


I hadn't heard about it either.


 
FN Posted: Thu Dec 14 12:06:07 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I wonder, how would you guys and girls react if you were to hear all of a sudden your state / half of your country had seperated?


 
FN Posted: Thu Dec 14 12:07:27 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  libra said:
>I think Christophe wins the prize for writing the longest posts. I'm always amazed by how much he can write in a response.
>
>
>I hadn't heard about it either.

The speed of my fingers is unmatched, or so I hear.


 
libra Posted: Thu Dec 14 12:17:15 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>I wonder, how would you guys and girls react if you were to hear all of a sudden your state / half of your country had seperated?

I've always kinda wanted California to separate. I think that would be fun.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Thu Dec 14 12:18:50 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  "credibility of journalism" = oxymoron


 
sweet p Posted: Thu Dec 14 12:22:53 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  libra said:
>I think Christophe wins the prize for writing the longest posts. I'm always amazed by how much he can write in a response.
>
>
>I hadn't heard about it either.

me too and me neither.


i like canada together. [mostly]


 
FN Posted: Thu Dec 14 12:28:16 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:
>"credibility of journalism" = oxymoron

Unless they're on fox/say what you like to hear? ;o)


 
~Just Imagine~ Posted: Thu Dec 14 12:32:44 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Hey christophe always nice to read a resume about it, you're quite good at that :)

Guess i'll probably be one of the few who totally understand the complications of it

Weird situation for our little country ;)

Just a question, do you want belgium to split ? Or are you against it ?


 
ifihadahif Posted: Thu Dec 14 12:49:26 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>ifihadahif said:
>>"credibility of journalism" = oxymoron
>
>Unless they're on fox/say what you like to hear? ;o)
>
FOX has more credibility than most, say BBC, or Reuters, or Dan Rather.
You might not like them, but hey haven't been caught in any fiascos like the three I just mentioned off the top of my head.
Don't even get me started on print journalism.


 
FN Posted: Thu Dec 14 13:15:14 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I'm neither strongly for or against splitting the country.

Would be bad image-wise, not only for Belgium itself, but also for Europe, which is something I am concerned about, as I'm a very strong supporter of a united Europe (wether that's what's being made is a different discussion), so you couldn't really fit that in with an internal nation splitting in anger.

However, I agree that the amount of money going from Flanders to Wallonia should be severely cut, especially when you see how it is being wasted and given the levels of corruption in Wallonia.

I also agree that just about any thinkable authority should be moved from the federal to the regional level, also because basicly the current political leaders in Wallonia have more than proven themselves to be incapable of doing their job in an efficient or at least even deontological way.

So then what you'd end up with would be a country made up out of 2 anonymous parts that would only be one under a name but cut in half in reality.

Being a strong believer in realpolitik, I would deem that situation to be very undesirable.



I have much more to say about this than I care to type out here, so just keep it at: "It depends" :o)


 
Mark Posted: Thu Dec 14 13:32:56 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>The speed of my fingers is unmatched, or so I hear.
Taken out of context that could become a very nice quote to comment on :)

Anyway. I heard about it, since I'm your friendly neighbour. Although I understand your point about the impact of this "news", I must say that they set it up nicely. If I can believe the journalists here even some government members played along.

And though it is a joke, it surely pointed out some serious issues of your country (ok, the Netherlands also aren't exactly without problems. I admit that.) How can one part of a country give lots of its money to the poor part, without even the slightest change of getting walloon to a better prospective. Like you said... to many socialisms and stuff. Sure, it goes well there, but only as long as they get money from you! It seems a bit like leeching to me.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mind giving money to poor people. But when those people don't use it to get it going for themselves... well, sorry to say, but screw them!


 
FN Posted: Thu Dec 14 14:16:10 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  It is leeching.


However, an internal split in the EU seems odd.


 
Mark Posted: Fri Dec 15 13:45:17 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Maybe walloon is indeed very monarchistic and are they looking too much to their beloved prince. Lol, I heared there's a bit of a scandal there :)


 
ifihadahif Posted: Fri Dec 15 16:10:38 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,236704,00.html


 
Posted: Sat Dec 16 14:44:56 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:

>The result is that seperatism is dormant in a lot of Flemings

Flemings; the one where you have to get it so the little guys don't walk off the cliff? I was never very good at that game.


 
mat_j Posted: Wed Dec 20 16:38:34 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I saw this breaking in the Dam on the weekend, good show there. I was prepared to go down and fight in the Belgian civil war!


 
FN Posted: Wed Dec 20 16:40:47 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  CriminalSaint said:
>Flemings; the one where you have to get it so the little guys don't walk off the cliff? I was never very good at that game.

Those would be lemmings, and they were indeed hard to manage :o)


 



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