Skip to comments.Belgium Must Be Hopeless...
Posted on 03/23/2013 7:53:05 AM PDT by Kaslin
Im not a big fan of the German government. Angela Merkel has a disturbing desire to impose fiscal and political union on the European continent. And even the supposedly free market Free Democratic Party seems perfectly comfortable with a gradual descent into statism.
No wonder I mocked the Washington Post for labeling Germany a fiscally conservative nation.
But everythings relative in the world of public policy. Compared to some basket cases in Europe, Germany is a laissez-faire paradise.
Heres a fascinating report from an English-language news site in Europe.
Two Belgian government ministers have complained that..Belgian companies are facing unfair competition. The two Belgian cabinet ministers were in Hannover (Germany) on Monday. They decided on their visit after often hearing in Belgium that it was cheaper to get Belgian cattle processed in Germany than at home.
So what is the unfair competition from Germany? Are there special tariffs or trade barriers that are artificially raising costs on Belgian products?
Nope, the Belgians are complaining that Germany doesnt have a minimum wage and that regulations are not sufficiently onerous. Oh, the horror.
The Belgian ministers say that the most striking thing is that this can happen legally because there is no general minimum wage in Germany: The company is not violating any regulations, because there are no regulations and that must stop Mr Vande Lanotte told the VRT. The Belgians insist Belgian companies are the subject of unfair competition. Economy Minister Vande Lanotte says that in principle everybody should be treated in the same way: Belgian companies cannot compete with their German competitors and this has ramifications.
Gasp, there are no regulations. What sort of vicious dog-eat-dog system are the Germans running?!?
The answer, of course, is that Germany has lots of red tape.
But apparently not as much intervention as Belgium. And youll notice that the principle that everybody should be treated the same way is really a stalking horse for the argument that there should be regulatory harmonization.
But the harmonization always means that everyone has to impose more onerous rules. Belgium doesnt harmonize with Germanys comparatively market-oriented policy. Instead, Germany is supposed to harmonize with the more statist and interventionist model of the Belgians.
In this sense, regulatory harmonization is like tax harmonization. It always means a heavier burden of government, not a lighter burden. Low-tax jurisdictions are badgered and harassed to make their tax systems worse so that fiscal hell-holes such as France dont face unfair competition.
In an ideal world, the Germans would tell the Belgians to go jump in a lake.
But thanks to the never-ending pressure for regulation, harmonization, and centralization in Europe, its not that simple. The Brussels bureaucrats may decide to force Germany to adopt bad policy.
Mr Vande Lanotte intends to raise the issue of the absence of a minimum wage in many German sectors with the European Commission.
P.S. Germany also is better than the United States, at least on the issue of minimum wage mandates. Germany doesnt have a minimum wage law. Obama, meanwhile, wants to saw off the bottom rungs of the economic ladder by pushing the U.S. minimum wage requirement even higher.
P.P.S. This story helps to explain why I want Belgium to split apart. If it became two nations, one Dutch and one French, I suspect wed get better policy because they would then compete with each other instead of nagging Germany to become more statist.
One part of the building is Germany, the other the Netherlands.
It takes mail a week to go from one part of the building to the other.
The dutch get more vacation time and benefits, the Germans get to watch the Dutch take vacations.
Eurode Business Center...lol
Belgium always has been a weird duck. I haven't spent much time in Walloon but Flanders always did seem much like Holland. I suspect they tolerate the Walloonians much like the rest of Europe deals with France... 'the food is good, but... (list)'.
If you've ever seen Germans on vacation in Holland, you'd know why the Dutch roll up the sidewalks on Saturday. They are obnoxious, and act like they own the place.
“There are two things I can’t stand, people who are intolerant of other people’s cultures...and the Dutch!”
Everyday seemed like a Saturday, by that I mean people were everywhere, not working. Culture shock and not hard to see why Asia will/would overtake them.
Beautiful countries though. Nice place to be if your wealthy and retired.
It wasn't that way when I was there, although there was a visible element of what you describe.
Culture shock and not hard to see why Asia will/would overtake them.
No doubt of that. If you want culture shock, check out the Arab quarter of Brussels. It's gross.
Beautiful countries though. Nice place to be if your wealthy and retired.
Holland is a wonderful place to travel, especially by train. Nor is it terribly expensive if one goes the Eurail/B&B route.
Guess they've finally decided to take sides.
I refuse to believe that Dutch and Phlegmisch are real languages. Both sound like Sid Caesar inventions. I am sure they do it for the tourists, or maybe as a funny code to prevent the many millions of camel-and-goat-schtupper-Muslims who infest their fair lands from knowing what's going on.
In fact, if these Dutch and Pheglmischer people could actually understand each other, they would have stopped the unfriendly and inbred sons of Muhammed at the border long ago.
I was in Brussels, Belgium on business about six or seven years ago. Dirty city, the government was shutdown for some unknown reason and it’s building boarded up and filled with graffiti, no one cared the government was shutdown, every street has a sign in Dutch and French, and they have been fighting for over 200 years about what language to speak.
Re: “The Arab quarter of Brussels”
I have a career Air Force friend who was posted in Brussels during the Second Iraq War.
His housing was within walking distance of the Arab Quarter.
Every morning he was required to check his car for explosives and start it remotely from a distance.
When containment is not control.
I have always loved Holland, especially the small towns in Maastricht (my wife and I went there for our honeymoon). I hated to see what socialism has done to that country. The dog training is still great stuff though.
My father's family originally came from Lunteren, near Arnhem in 1864. They helped found the heavily Dutch town of Pella, Iowa where there is a tulip festival to this day.
I had a Dutch girlfriend in the 1980’s.
It's remarkable how quickly the Dutch, young and old, can master American English, right down to a perfect accent.
My family is entirely German and carries the name of a small town that used to be on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain.
During the Cold War, my father used to joke that we were named after an East German slum!
If memory serves me right I think Charlemagne gets the blame for creating what is now Belgium. I think the Church wanted him to leave it all to them but still maintaining some of his pagan wiles he split it up between two of his sons. My late Uncle Fred served with the 84th. Infantry Division in Belgium during The Battle of The Bulge. I knew some other vets who did as well. My uncle told me, as well as other guys, that they didn’t entirely trust the Belgians. “If they stayed away from us or stayed in their homes, we knew the Krauts were still around’’ said one old vet. My uncle told me how when his unit first got to Marche, Belgium in late Dec, ‘44 some of the old women and men would sometimes bring some cheese or eggs in exchange for coffee or cigarettes . “But then’’, he told me after they’d leave, ‘’the shells would start coming over’’. He said it took he and his buddies some time to realize that the sons of bitches were going out of the village and down the road a mile or two to tell their German cousins just where the American positions were. After a while when the MPs arrived there was a strict ‘’non=fraternization’’ policy put in place.
I lived about 80 miles north of Marche for a while. The entire area is so beautiful and picturesque. It partially stays beautiful because of the lack of 'workers' and the large farming industry.
They still vandalize Jewish property and objects even though no Jews live there. One gentleman brought back a cemetary
gate to the US just to keep it from being destroyed. That was not too far from where I lived.