I live in the right part of Belgium

Submitted by dag on Mon, 2009/06/08 - 18:23

Comparing the green parties in both parts of Belgium is comparing apples and oranges (pun intended). The Flemish green party (Groen!) is a poor extract of what it used to be and if you heard Mieke Vogels debate (both in the Flemish parliament as well as during elections) I am surprised they didn't loose any more votes. You don't need to vote Groen! to vote green anymore although maybe some use their vote to make a statement. And they are free to do just that. And while Mieke's intentions are good, the execution is poor. (I liked the old Groen! politicians better)

Some people seem to think that everything is going to be resolved in Belgium by itself. But they simply ignore the fact that on a federal level things are being stuck and have been for some time. And that is not caused by separatists or confederalists. You'd think that by now the people that believe in Belgium would have come up with solutions. But nothing really gets resolved on that level. Maybe too few believe in it anymore ? And if the only alternative is change, and the only change is offered by more confederalism, people would be wrong to vote for the same old same.

Those people would also like us to believe that a region or country cannot change the economic impact, because it is a global crisis. That's like saying that we cannot impact the economy (when there's no crisis), because we have a global economy. Utterly delusional, of course, and very dangerous. Flanders of course is a part of the European economy, much like Wallonia, but regional decisions and measures can ignite a regional economy. (If not, it shouldn't hurt either, should it?) If decisions cannot be made on a federal level and we're unable to resolve the mess we are in. (The Belgian deficit is undeniable and not getting better anytime soon) We should be able to take measures on a regional level rather than being left stuck in Belgium.

And even more fellow Dutch-speaking Belgians seem to agree today.

I live in the right part of Belgium and Wouter lives in the left part, which he says is the wrong part. Who am I to disagree ? :-)

Note: I was not planning to become a political activist, but Wouter Verhelst's opinion was pretty one-sided and in need of another point of view :-)


I do have to disagree with this here tidbit: "If not, it shouldn't hurt either, should it?". I think it might. There is a bit problem with federalism and handing out responsibilities to smaller regions ad-nauseum. That's to say, there is a problem when the regions don't talk to each other and don't cooperate. That's where the actual federal state should come in to play, it should a) provide a forum for the regions to cooperate on ALL relevant matters, and b) make the bastards cooperate.

I saw something rather trivial on the news a while back. A small river on the flanders-wallonia border. On one river bank, fishing is strictly forbidden. On the other side, it's allowed. Any sane person sees that this is completely and utter madness, but that's exactly what happens when governments don't communicate.

This isn't just a flanders vs wallonia thing, this includes all adjacent regions. There have been problems with the strong contrast in drug laws on the Dutch border, for instance. Europe is far too big and bureaucratic to give a toss about a couple of potheads, so it should fall to regional administrations to deal with it, imho.

Nothing is preventing the

Nothing is preventing the regions from working together right now, whether we are living in a federal or confederal country. But it simply is not working the way it is. And ever since the country was constructed it was slowly falling apart. First the people fought to get Dutch accepted (the language of the silent majority) and since then everything else slowly broke down in two language groups.

Now, you either can hope for something that will not happen (everybody speaks fluently Dutch and French and we share the same newspapers/media/influence) or you open your eyes and look at reality.

And you are right, a confederal Belgium or two separate regions (Flanders and Wallonia) would still have to agree on common interests. But they no longer have to disagree on everything else and be stuck in a status quo. The biggest problem Belgium has, is that it is bipolar and you cannot fix that easily.

And the politicians are not even trying. I would like to believe all the fairy tales of how things would work best, but if none of the political parties are interested and nobody can come up with proper solutions, then I think it is time to discuss what we want to do together and leave everything up to the regions.

Anything is better than this, but I do not expect you to believe me :-)