Skip to comments.Future of Belgium under threat over language row
Posted on 04/23/2010 1:31:36 AM PDT by bruinbirdman
"Survival" of Belgium as a unified country was called into question last night after a row between French and Dutch speakers brought the government to the verge of collapse.
The wrangle has already brought down the government four times in the past three years but the latest spat is the gravest yet and threatens to split the country into Flemish areas and French-speaking areas.
King Albert II warned politicians that the political crisis "seriously threatens" the country's role in Europe, after the Prime Minister, Yves Leterme tendered his resignation.
Mr Leterme stepped down after talks broke down over plants to give French speakers in the suburbs of Brussels special voting powers which the Flemish parties want to see denied.
The failure to reach a deal led the Flemish liberal party, Open VLD, to pull out of the five-party ruling coalition and just hours later Mr Leterme resigned. King Albert has delayed a decision on whether to accept the resignation.
Dutch speakers make up 60 percent of the population in Belgium, where only the capital Brussels is officially bilingual. Prosperous Dutch-speaking Flanders in the north wants greater autonomy, whereas poorer, French-speaking Wallonia in the south argues enough powers have been devolved.
The Brussels-Hal-Vilvorde districts at the centre of the row have acted as a focal point for these deep-seated linguistic tensions, as they are Flemish-run but with a sizeable French-speaking community.
Some Wallon politicians saw the latest crisis as a Flemish plot to break up Belgium.
"There was no other choice but for the government to resign," said Didier Reynders, the finance minister.
Yesterday, Olivier Maingain, a francophone leader, promised that the collapse of the coalition "won't win Flanders what it really wants, separation and the end of the country".
However, Pierre Vercauteren, a political analyst at the University of
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
maybe they should compromise with english?
The Belgians haven't really had a functional government for more than 20 years.
“The Belgians haven’t really had a functional government for more than 20 years.”
Sure they do, the functional one is more interested in ruling the world through the financial system though.
I thought maybe it was going to be about Arabic.
Or more likely an arabic language.
The battle between Flemings and Walloons still rages I see.
Been going on a long time.
Good thing that could never happen here. By the way, does anybody know what “Para espanol, oprima numero dos” means?
If they can’t agree on what to do, it sounds like they will become part of New Arabia.
for spanish hit two
They should return the large portion of Luxembourg, where French and Letzeburgish language prevail, to the Grand Duchy! It was stolen from them after the Treaty of Vienna in order to create the Pseudo state of Belgium.
Maybe they need a Two state solution!!
Exactly. en Español
The very same thing is coming here soon. You can’t hardly walk into a major store or pick up a pamphlet without dueling languages. In certain parts of the country Spanish is already the predominate language.
French or Dutch? Moot point!
They are all destined to end up speaking Farsi and various Arabian languages.
The future of Belgium at risk - oh no! No more waffles or Leonidas chocolate! Sacre Blue! Verdammt!
Sometimes its even "numero uno."
Belgium? Really? Belgium?
These Euroweenies can’t even keep Belgium from falling apart.
Sheesh! And our own weenies want us to be more like them. John Wayne...paging Mr John Wayne.
A separate language for Luxembourg, there is something I did not know. When I googled it I found out that Letzeburgish, a German dialect, was the most common language spoken in Luxembourg. I had thought it was French. Thanks.
This better never affect the output of beer!
In all fairness, they do make some pretty great dogs...
I don't know if you can really call the Walloons' language "French"--they say octante rather than quatre-vingt for "80." For "90" they say nonante instead of quatre-vingt-dix. How can that be considered French?
Don’t the Swiss French do the same? Mais, alors, je suis d’accord avec vous.
Yes, according to my Harrap’s French dictionary, the French-speaking Swiss do too.
You are very welcome for the information.
The Letzeburgesch dialect is quite far removed from high German, however, and often Germans cannot understand it at all. However, the Germans living around Bitburg, just north of Trier in the western part of the Rheinland do understand it and still speak it in their homes. In fact, prior to 1815, the District of Bitburg belonged to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg!
I have a genealogy friend with 100% Luxembourg ancestry, whose ancestors came to central Minnesota beteween about 1860-1870. The older generation still speaks Letzeburgesh among themselves. My friend’s mother went on a trip to Germany,and when she returned, she told her daughter, “I could not understand most of the Germans at all, until I came to Trier where I could speak my “German” and they understood me.”
Monty Python - Derogatory terms for Belgians
Very interesting. We spent 8 years in Germany, 4 at Zweibrucken AB, and 4 in Berlin. I knew there were many dialects of German but to tell the truth, my German was so poor it was hard to distinguish between them. I do remember that the Berliners talked very fast.
The Belgian government just collapsed.
The only thing that united Belgians in the past was their Catholicism. As the country become secularlized, ethnic/linguistic divisions rose to the fore.
The article you link to is dated April 22.
Note that this article above is also dated April 22 and states in the second paragraph:
"King Albert II warned politicians that the political crisis "seriously threatens" the country's role in Europe, after the Prime Minister, Yves Leterme tendered his resignation."
Doh! I had just seen it on twitter as "breaking news" and found this but didn't see the date.