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  • aletheia kallos
    fresh belgium & kosovo etc analysis lifted from http://www.stratfor.com/products/premium/read_article.php?id=299312 Belgium: Prelude to a Breakup December 03,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 3, 2007
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      fresh belgium & kosovo etc analysis lifted from

      Belgium: Prelude to a Breakup
      December 03, 2007 16 46 GMT


      The Belgian political party that won elections six
      months ago has thrown in the towel and informed the
      king that putting together a coalition government is
      impossible. Belgium now formally moves into political


      Since its deadlocked parliamentary elections six
      months ago, Belgium has been in political crisis, with
      the government of Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt
      limping along in a caretaker capacity. The plurality
      winners of that election -- the Christian Democrats of
      Flanders, led by Yves Leterme -- have proven unable to
      form a government because of disputes over how much
      power to devolve to the country's two fractionalized
      regions: Dutch Flanders in the North and French
      Wallonia in the South. Leterme informed the country's
      head of state, King Albert II, of the situation Dec.
      1, and now the country is awaiting a ruling on its

      Ever since the election, Europe has been abuzz as it
      wonders whether -- or when -- Belgium will break apart
      into two states. The Flemings and Walloons do not
      exactly get along. Aside from those who work in the
      capital, Brussels, which is located on the dividing
      line between the two regions, only Belgian politicians
      have much interaction across the ethnic divide --
      something the recent elections underscored.

      The next step in the process is entirely up to the
      king, and the options on his plate are not exactly
      palatable. The one that currently ranks highest in the
      public mind is for Verhofstadt's caretaker government
      to be allowed to linger on until regional elections in
      2009, which could alter the balance of power in the
      Belgian Senate -- and thus in Parliament as a whole.
      Stratfor finds such an option odd, to say the least,
      because it would essentially mean pretending that the
      last elections never happened. The second and more
      likely option is for the king to simply declare a hung
      Parliament and call for fresh elections, with the hope
      of attaining a more workable result. Finally, he could
      present Parliament with a dissolution vote -- but we
      find it dubious that the king is all that eager to see
      his country, and his job, legislated away.

      But the problem remains that the Flemings and the
      Walloons simply do not like each other and are not
      grouped together in a common state for any good
      reason. Separation in one form or another -- while
      hardly inevitable or imminent -- has moved into the
      realm of possibility, and perhaps even probability.

      For the Walloons and Flemings, this will not affect
      matters much, regardless of whether they end up as
      independent entities or rejoin with their ethnic
      cousins in France and the Netherlands, respectively.
      The real impact would be elsewhere in Europe.

      Much has been made of the Kosovo issue, and of the
      fear that Kosovar independence would trigger
      independence declarations in other European separatist
      regions, such as Corsica, Basqueland and Transylvania.
      If that is the case for a dysfunctional
      pseudo-statelet in the Balkans, just imagine the
      ammunition that would be granted to European
      separatists if a Western European state broke up.

      also in the news today

      the prospective new tricountry point locations were
      considered at

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