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One in four Belgians wants to separate the country

19:10 10/09/2020

A quarter of Belgians would like to split up the country, according to a survey published this week in Le Soir.

Like many previous questionnaires, however, there is no clear country-wide majority calling to break up Belgium. About 28% of Flemish people are in favour, compared to 18% of Walloons and 17% of Brussels residents.

Meanwhile, the 1,303 voter survey carried out between 28 August and 2 September revealed that more than half the respondents – 56% – said it would be impossible to keep the country together in future (58% in Wallonia, 46% in Flanders and 47% in Brussels).

The survey also raised the thorny question of national (federal) and regional powers. Here, only 38% of Flemish people favoured the status quo, compared to 60% in Brussels and 62% in Wallonia.

The debate – exacerbated by the Flemish/French language divide – has raged for years. Flanders particularly has called to become its own separate – critics may say separatist – state. Other proposals have been for Flanders to become part of the Netherlands and Wallonia to join France.

One Blankenberge resident, Nadine, told RTBF: “I would feel much better, more at ease and reassured if Flanders was its own state. I wonder if it could not even become a future ‘little Monaco’.”

Liege resident Manuel foresaw a split “in the short or medium term”, saying: “In Flanders they live differently, see things differently and envisage the future differently.” And politicians’ views play a part, he added, noting 30% of Flemish people support the nationalist Bart de Wever who wants to split up the country.

Meanwhile Laurent, from Jumet, near Charleroi, said a split should be avoided at all costs, as: “It’s Belgium that counts, not Flanders or Wallonia."

He argued language was a real obstacle to unity, given the substantial decrease in the proportion of people speaking Dutch: “Before we had to learn Dutch at school, but now they offer a choice of Dutch and English and students opt less for Flemish.”

Written by Liz Newmark

Comments

Anon3

In other words, one in four want to separate the country officially. It already is separated.
Dutch companies have caught on. Albert Heijn and Jumbo are only opening shops in Flemish (i.e. Dutch-speaking) regions. Heaven forbid they'd have to deal with the French language.

Sep 11, 2020 15:10
Frank Lee

Flanders could not be a "little Monaco." Monaco's about two square kilometers in size and counts less than forty thousand inhabitants.
Of course, once Flanders become a country, the inhabitants of Limburg could feel they have little in common with the citizens of Antwerp and decide to ask for their own independence...

Sep 11, 2020 15:10