The week at a glance...Europe
BrusselsHappy anniversary: Belgium has now gone an entire year without a government. Elections in spring 2010 gave the Flemish nationalist party, New Flemish Alliance, the largest share in parliament; it wants to weaken and ultimately sever ties between Flanders, the rich, Dutch-speaking north, and Wallonia, the poor, French-speaking south. But despite months of negotiating, party leader Bart De Wever has been unable to form a governing coalition with other parties, thanks largely to his secessionist agenda. His popularity in Flanders has made other parties reluctant to create a coalition without him and loath to call elections that could give him a majority. But there is growing evidence that the country doesn’t need an elected government: Under the caretaker administration appointed by King Albert II, Belgium’s economy did well despite the global recession.
Kars, TurkeyUnfriending Armenia: Turkey this week began tearing down an unfinished statue commissioned a few years ago to signal improving relations with neighboring Armenia. The 100-foot-tall statue was being erected in Kars, a town whose Armenian population was destroyed by Ottoman Turks during World War I. In January Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the monument a “monstrosity” that didn’t belong near the tomb of an ancient Islamic scholar, and he ordered it removed. “I am really sorry, sorry on behalf of Turkey,” said sculptor Mehmet Aksoy. “They can demolish it; we will remake it.”