It is made up of 60% Dutch-speaking, free-market oriented Flemings in the north and 40% French-speaking, predominantly Socialist Walloons in the south. The Flemish economic output per person is 124 percent of the EU average, and there is growing resentment that Flemish taxes are being used to subsidize the poorer French-speaking south, where economic output is 90 percent of the EU average.I also mentioned that I'd have some more to say on the Cockpit of Europe for what's going on in Belgium may well affect us here in Scotland.
The ongoing political crisis in Belgium is caused by the deep divisions between the Dutch and French communities. And unsurprisingly France itself is taking an interest:
Yesterday the conservative French newspaper Le Figaro published a column by Alexandre Adler in which Adler urged the French President Sarkozy to prepare for the annexation of Wallonia by France. Adler said Sarkozy should not miss this historic opportunity “to govern an enlarged France.”Were that to happen we could expect the Flemish part of Belgium to join the Netherlands.
For Brussels, “historically a Flemish, but today a predominantly French-speaking and simultaneously a European and cosmopolitan city,” Sarkozy envisions a new status as European Capital District. “This will allow Brussels to become a truly quadrilingual capital of a united Europe. Naturally the EU will provide Brussels with the necessary funds.”Naturally...
Then there is the small matter of
Brussels being close to 50% Muslim Brussels having such a sizeable Muslim population...
And just how does this mess affect Scotland? Consider this view of what would happen in the event of a simple split between Flanders and Wallonia:
The fact that there would be two new states instead of a united Belgium will simply increase the number of member states from 27 to 28Which brings us back to when I asked whether an independent Scotland would be allowed to join the EU:
I think that it's inconceivable that the EU would somehow stop an independent Scotland from joining the club. It's not just the oil, the fresh water, the minerals and the renewable energy. What matters is that we're part of what the EU considers to be theirs.Belgium, Wallonia, Flanders and Scotland: the EU wants all of them. I maintain that an independent Scotland would be strongly encouraged to remain in the EU. Whether we should want to is quite another matter of course.
(Incidentally, if all of the above comes about France would have a population 25% greater than that of England and Eurocrats would probably have to learn Arabic.)