Belgium Without A Government

Monday, 10 January 2011

I’ve covered the political splits in Belgium before. So time for a quick update: Belgium is still without a government. This makes it Europe’s longest post-war political crisis, beating the 209 days it took to form a government in The Netherlands in 1977. If it goes on to the end of March then the Belgians will get a world record, overtaking Iraq.

Again, this doesn’t mean too much for cycling. Longer term a political crisis could spell trouble for the economy as the country has a lot of debt and fellow Eurozone countries are having to call in the IMF for a bail out.

It’s more that in advance of the classics season remember that the Lion of Flanders flag is increasingly being appropriated by politicians. It might be a much a part of the spring classics as cobbles and green sidewalls but the flag is also a political statement.

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{ 9 comments }

Paul January 10, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Do you work in finance Matt, now you're not a racer? You seem very 'au courant' in relation to economics and politics. Very refreshing to read.

Anonymous January 10, 2011 at 11:45 pm

"…the flag is also a political statement."

Depends on the version of the lion.
This is the official flag of Flanders:
http://neilbrowne.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/coatFlandersLion.png
This, the all black version, is the one used by separatists :
http://neilbrowne.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/coatFlandersLion.png
Though admittedly not everybody waving an all black version is a separatist since opinions on which version it should be are split, still the first version with red is the official one.

But actually the Belgians are coping just fine without a government as they did no too long ago. And although the problem between Flemish and Walloons is always present, I seriously doubt they will split, it wouldn't be in any sides favour.

TheInnerRing January 10, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Paul: the news on Belgium's lack of government was front page news in France given the way it has "overtaken" the Dutch record.

Anonymous: good precision but the links look the same. As you say, the people are coping, partly since so much functions on a regional level already and local government is able to act.

Anonymous January 11, 2011 at 12:52 am

indeed, my bad, the correct link would be:
http://neilbrowne.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/blk-claws.gif

Broerie January 11, 2011 at 10:20 am

As a Belgian (Dutch speaking) follower I can say that although we don't have a government, nobody really thinks this country is actually going to split. Our politicians are stuck in this bizarre situation, but everyday life goes on like before.
And although the 'separatist' parties are extremely popular in Flanders, the ideaa of a separate nation: Flanders isn't too popular.

What eventually will happen (I think) is that more and more responsabilities will be given to the regions in stead of the federal government. Both regions will be able to decide for themselves how they're going to govern their own territory while we stay one country: Belgium.

matzo January 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm

209 days if I'm not mistaken. (Instead of 109)
As a Belgian, I feel a bit ashamed…

TheInnerRing January 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Broerie: yes, life goes on!
matzo: correct, thank-you for spotting the mistake and I'll fix it.

Raouligan January 12, 2011 at 12:44 am

Devoloution would make sense see Scotland and Wales!

All part of the UK but with their own parliaments and growing legislative authority!

TheInnerRing January 12, 2011 at 8:18 am

They have devolution already, indeed the split between the regions is probably part of the solution but the way local politicians in one parliament can blame politicians in another is one cause of the friction.

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