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20080324

Just like Belgium

Entry 559 posted in: 1. General Mish Mash


Belgium I seldom write about politics here. You wouldn’t care about politics if you are trying to get ArianeB out of her clothes, would you? But sometimes this shithole of a country I live in is getting more surreal than the Belgian painters who put surrealism on the map.

It took the politicians over 9 months to create a government and yesterday, when the government was officially one day old; the first crisette (a Belgian neologism for small crisis) took place. One of the five (5!) deputy prime ministers found it necessary to contradict the prime minister on a signed agreement.

In 1962 Belgium was divided in two unilingual parts, Flanders and Wallonia, and one bilingual region: the capital of Brussels. But as the linguistic, judicial and administrative borders of those regions didn’t exactly match the Constitutional Court (the highest court in Belgium) decided, after 40 years of profound thinking, that this situation was illegal and that some revisions had to take place the next five years. This was in 2002. A consequence of this decision is that no federal elections can take place anymore because they will be considered illegal. Our last elections date from 2007 and thus the government is stuck. They need to find a solution before 2011 if the frail government doesn’t fall before that.

It needs to be said that the Dutch-speaking majority from Flanders is the winner in this court case. The francophone political world is only willing to agree with the court sentence if the Flemish majority gives some extra guarantees (read: money, power, young Flemish virgins) to the French minority. The Flemish point of view, before the elections, was that a court decision is a court decision and that the law has to be obeyed, regardless the consequences.

Nine months ago there was this distinct feeling that Belgium was going to split as the water between the two communities ran too deep. Today we know that the (Flemish) Prime Minister lowered his trousers in order to keep this country united. It only takes a quick sum to show who really rules this country: 10 Flemish ministers and state secretaries represent 60% of the population, but a majority of 12 French ministers and state secretaries represent the rest. The ones to blame are of course not the Walloon politicians who bargained, bluffed and won. The ones to blame are the Flemish politichiens who, to quote General Charles de Gaulle, ‘s'occupent beaucoup de leur carrière et fort peu de l'intérêt général’.

Today I read in the newspaper that the future king of Belgium, crown prince Philippe, has borrowed some Napoleonic furniture belonging to the Flemish region and refuses to give it back. In Napoleonic times, kings and would-be kings met Dr. Guillotin for less than that. Me thinks this country urgently needs euthanasia so that it finally becomes what it is most famous for: an interstellar swearword.


If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: Nomen Est Omen: Belgium: WTF?