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Posts: 5,045
Reply with quote  #1

Given the opposition of the Flemish nationalist movement to the Belgium monarchy and Belgium generally, this is a historic moment. Certainly the political class in Belgium realises it is desperately short of options. The Cordon Sanitaire imposed on Vlaams Blok and its successor Vlaams Belang did not enjoy universal support even among politicians and media.

The Flemish Movement has long been divided over how it approaches the Belgian state. The moderate current typified by Volksunie and now N-VA appears prepared to pragmatically accept federalism. Vlaams Belang, representing the radical current, wanted nothing less than a Flemish Republic.

As head of state, King Philippe is required to be politically neutral. He cannot oppose the inclusion of any party in a coalition government. The survival of the Belgian monarchy, indeed the Belgian state, rests entirely upon the goodwill of the people - especially in Flanders.

BTW, the Francophone Socialists have NO moral ground to criticise anything. They've kept Wallonia and Brussels beholden to them for decades with terrible results.


Posts: 5,045
Reply with quote  #2

The meeting between King Philippe and Tom Van Grieken, chairman of Vlaams Belang, at the palace following the election drew strong reactions from a number of politicians, especially in Francophone Belgium. Not that the PS has any moral high ground to occupy given their primary role in the stagnation of Wallonia and Brussels suburbs.
The entrance of the Flemish nationalist party N-VA into the government in 2014 (it withdrew last year over a migration policy dispute) seemingly signified its pragmatic acceptance of the current arrangements in Belgium. Articles in recent years suggests that a kind of truce has been established between this wing of the Flemish Movement and the Palace:

Such nationalist movements as those in Flanders, Catalonia, Scotland and Quebec (and you might say Ireland as well) are based on a certain dynamic: that of a "nationalism" opposed to an "imperial" or "royal" power. Yet at the same time, these movements have divided into "hard" and "soft" versions of this nationalism.
In Ireland, until 1916, the "soft" version of Irish nationalism represented by O'Connell, Parnell and Remond was dominant. Even Arthur Griffith of the original Sinn Fein was in favour of a constitutional monarchy.
In Quebec, the separatist movement is in terminal decline such that even separatists have given up. But this has not meant a decline of Quebec nationalism, instead a "soft nationalism" functioning within the framework of Canada has largely prevailed.
Can the same happen in Catalonia and Flanders? Can the Flemish Movement come to terms with existing arrangements? Or has the losses suffered by the N-VA (while still the largest party) and its predecessor VU cautioned against watering down their agenda?
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