Le Monde (France)
What’s to become of French-speaking Belgians? asked Belgian writer Hervé Bajart. Belgium is “on the verge of divorce” à la Czechoslovakia. Just as the richer Czechs abandoned the poorer Slovaks in 1993, now the richer Flemish want to ditch us poor, French-speaking Walloons and go it alone, chopping Belgium in half. Of course, we’re already effectively split in two. The national elections three months ago “revealed two utterly different Belgiums.”
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In the north, the Flemish elected a nationalist, right-wing party, while in the south, Walloons chose the Socialists. After three months of dickering, we still have no coalition. Politicians now talk furtively of Belgium’s eventual division into two states. The key question concerns which state should get Brussels, the capital and home base for many lucrative European institutions.
Without Brussels, a Wallonia couldn’t survive economically. So I say we just join France and call it a day. After all, Wallonia was a territory of France during Napoleon’s reign, and many of us “still set off fireworks on France’s National Day rather than Belgium’s.” We’re ready to come home—that is, “if the French will have us.”
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