the death of a nation ? Who cares ?
I do : I d like to give you some easy explanation.
Belgium has no government for more than 6 months. Do Belgian people are so unconformist they want to build an anarchist country and settle a self-ruled area around the European Commission ? That could be very funny. But no, not at all. Belgian are not anarchists, or not all of them.
Belgium has such an intricate political system and institutional structure that politics only dysfunction. In a normal western post democracy, people vote and governements are formed according to the results of the elections. Of course the vote is far from being independant, considering the influence of media on people's choice. Mass media belong to economic, financial and political elites that are keen to pay a lot of money and people in order to stay in power. So established powers influence media who influence people who believe they influence the politics of their State. Normally it works without problem. But not in Belgium.
Belgium has a very very sophisticated federated institutional system that makes it very very complicated for the power to actually rule. In some way, that's cool. But that's another issue.
So, Why did we build this kind of federal system that is basically IMPOSSIBLE TO BE APPLIED IN REALITY ?
(thanks a lot to all academic researchers who have probably been so excited ad fascinated by the complex political system they found out for Belgium. Nevertheless, they just mixed up theory and practise, as usual, whatever if their intentions were good)
Because French speaking Wallonia, the South of the country, and Flemish speaking Flanders, the Northern part, has grown very apart the last 30 years and today it sometimes seems that they do not belong the same country anymore. So they decided that each region should have a certain level of autonomy on its matters and started to federalize power. Today Belgium has 6 parliaments. Each Belgian might become a deputy if he wants.
Now why did Flanders and Wallonia grow up apart ?
They do not speak the same language, well this you knew.
Hence they also do not watch the same tv,
do not read te same paper,
do not listen to the same music,
do not read the same books,
do not vote the same political parties.
Flemish are richer, their economy has done better than in the South for the last 30 years. In Wallonia, where coal mines were the main activity until the 70's, unemployement rate has been much higher than in the North in the last 20 years. Economical renewal in Wallonia has not been so easy to manage, as in other industrial regions like East Germany. And a strong welfare system did not boost individual initiative but create instead kind of charity culture. People there keeps on voting the socialist party, in order not to lose their social benefits. Obviously, the long and potent rule of the socialist party drove to political corruption and paralysis, what does not appeal investements.
Somehow Belgium unemployement rate is mainly under the European average and life standard remains highly above most of the country I visited in Europe.
The Flanders, like other rich European regions like Catalunya in Spain or Bayern in Germany, wants to get more autonomy in order to benefit alone from its economical growth. Maybe they d like to have even bigger house than they already do, or just punish the lazy wallons...In any case, 30% of them vote a right nationalist party, the NVA, willing to offer Flanders its true financial and social autonomy towards Wallonia. They actually do not really want to separate, but they do not want to share tax policies nor social policies... To separate might be too complicated. I mean, what should they then do with the king Albert the 2nd ? ;-b
Does it make further sense to consider this little country one and only ?
I believe there is a Belgian culture that remains, we call it "Belgitude". But culture is not so important anymore in this world driven by markets. Does People prefer to have a nicer expresso machine than a united homeland ?