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should French speaking Belgians join France?


odile

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Well, the Belgian Province de Luxembourg might prefer to join the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. There is a good sinergy there.

The German speaking bit would do a lot better with Germany

Brussels and its environs could perhaps achieve the statute of European Capital Territory, like Canberra and (I think) Ottawa.

Which leaves essentially the rump of the bankrupt, corrupt valley towns of Liege, Namur, Charleroi and Mons with their massive admitted unemployment and hidden unemployment rates, their hugely expensive social security budgets and infrastructure of a banana republic. Frankly, their problems are so great that I doubt France could take them on, given that they have not altogether managed to sort out their own northern areas.

That being said, the Belgians are a very different breed from the French. Not so downtrodden, more corrupt, more independent, more community and group based. And the finest people in the world when they have had a drink!

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interesting. There has been so much in the press lately about this issue. Personally I have very little knowledge of the country, so couldn;t possibly comment, but would like to hear from people who live there. As a UK Swiss/French, where borders have been very flexible in history, and where we have four languages and cultures- it made me wonder.

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It has gone too far to fix now, except in some silly way. The Flemish at one extreme have a deep dislike of the Walloons, bordering on a kind of fascism, regarding them as an inferior race. The less extreme ones see advantages to going it alone in a very loose federation in which they could control all their own money and not subsidize La Wallonia as they do at present. I think they do not apprecdiate the extent to which they are linked at the waist and will suffer from a separation.

On the other hand, if the heart of Wallonia could dump the coal, steel, we are all reds together lads tradition and get off their arses, then things might begin to move. And put most of their politicians up against a wall and shoot them.

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Try reading the Vif/Express web pages to get a flavour of the thing at the moment. I was chatting to someone in Belgium yesterday, in Liège, who says there are Belgian flags being flown everywhere, even from the windows of private houses. But that is Wallonia. If you did not fly a Flemish flag in Flanders or flew a Bzlgian one, then your windows would be broken at least.
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[quote user="odile"]what do YOU think Pierre?
[/quote]

NOOOOOOOO don't do it.  Everything that WoolyBB said above is true but I would put it in even stronger terms.  The northern Flemism Belgians cannot and WIL not speak French unless they really have to.  It is taught in schools and promptly forgotten.  Speaking in general terms, they think the southern Wallons are a bunch of lazy scroungers and all 'their' wealth generated in the north is just poured down a southern drain, the newspapers often carry stories to 'support' this view, the latest being an extended family where no-one had worked for 3 generations (alledgedly) and lived on state handouts.

The Wallons have a different view and regard the Flemish as arrogant and aggressive. 

I work with both North and South Belgiums and I get on with both very well but its best if they are not put in the same room - seriously!

Also we mustn't forget the German bit too.  A strip on the East of Belgium that is far more German than Belgium.  It has a great deal of autonomy, even the roadsigns are in German so I sometimes find it difficult to know what country I'm in when driving through that bit on the way to Lux.

Also not forgetting that The Province of Lux was once part of Lux (in fact the bigger part) but then wars and deals meant it was split off

Not even going to mention Bruxelles !!!

And do you really want all those Belgium drivers registering their cars with French plates?  At least now you can see them coming and have a chance to avoid them.

There is a saying here to the effect that when you have lost all 12 points off your license, you have to take your car to Sandwieler (vehicle registration place)and your black and yellow (Lux) plate is removed and a replaced by a red and white one [Www]

 

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I've never come across a so-called nation that is more partisan and regionally intolerant than Belgium. It makes the Irish question look a bit like 'what is 2+2?'. Makes you wonder why, and how, Belgium was created in the first place. Mind you, "...massive admitted unemployment and hidden unemployment rates, their hugely expensive social security budgets..." sounds as if it could fit quite smoothly into certain parts of France, even though I fear the impact would be even greater than Germany absorbing its eastern neighbour.
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I am ashamed to admit I know very little about Belgium, but was intrigued by lots of articles in the French press recently. I am currently in the process of reading 'The story of French" by Jean-Benoit Nadeau + Julie Barlow (pub.  PORTICO). p159-166  explains the history of Belgium in resume.

Explains that Belgium was never meant to be and where handed over at the congress of Vienna to Holland, to be part of a 'buffer zone' between France and Prussia. In 1830 Belgians founded own state. Brussels was Flemish speaking, French about 50% of population. Attempts to turn into unilingual state (French) failed and reinforced separatist movement. In 1830 Brussels was 15% French- now perhaps around 85%. Since 1947 flemish have refused to hold linguistic surveys - and feel Brussels was 'stolen' from them. Hope this resume doesn't breech copyright- ISBN 978-1-905798-19-3   A very interesting read so far.

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