Crise systémique 2013 : sous les records des bourses, l’imminente plongée en récession de la planète
L’économie mondiale ralentit sérieusement et une récession généralisée se profile. Les différents acteurs en ont pleinement conscience et, face aux enjeux d’une rechute imminente, les pays ou régions mettent en place diverses stratégies pour tenter d’en minimiser les conséquences… (page 2)
BoJ, Fed, BCE : à méthodes distinctes avenirs contrastés
Afin d’y voir plus clair dans le déroulement de la crise systémique globale, il est nécessaire de comprendre les moyens d’action des grandes banques centrales occidentales, les limites, les avantages et les inconvénients de leurs interventions. Nous expliquons donc leurs politiques dans les grandes lignes… (page 9)
GEAB dollar et euro index
Le dollar index traditionnel (utilisé par les marchés financiers) est un indicateur qui a perdu de sa pertinence pour estimer l’évolution du dollar US. Notre équipe présente donc son habituel GEAB $ index accompagné du GEAB € index… (page 14)
Recommandations opérationnelles et stratégiques
Découplage de l’or papier et de l’or physique
. Obligations souveraines européennes : la BCE reste le patron
. Bourses : quand les QE font pleuvoir de l’argent ! … (page 17)
Le GlobalEurometre - Résultats & Analyses
La tonalité générale du sondage de ce mois est pour le moins morose. La confiance en la capacité de gérer la crise de l’Euro s’effondre littéralement ce mois-ci, la crainte de perdre de l’argent augmente significativement… (page 20)
Painting by Gustave/Gustaaf WAAPERS, Episode des journées de septembre 1830 sur la place de l’Hôtel de Ville de Bruxelles / Tafereel van de Septemberdagen 1830, op de Grote Markt te Brussel (1835), Musée d’Art Ancien / Het Museum voor Oude Kunst, Bruxelles/Brussel
Et mane, dicit dominus,
Est tui regnis terminus.
Thechel, libram significat
Quae te minorem indicat.
Phares, hoc est divisio ;
Regnum transportat alio.
I - THE DISMAL STRAIT
On December 2, 2008, the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local Authorities issued a sharp indictment of Belgium’s Flemish regional government, which had refused to ratify the elections of three francophone mayoral candidates in Brussels suburbs on the grounds that linguistic rules relating to election documents had not been followed. The Congress, choosing to impose broad monitoring of Belgian local democracy, had found that, among other things, the refusal to appoint three mayors, as a form of penalty is disproportionate given that that no disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against the three mayors…[and] is incompatible with…the European Charter of Local Self-Government, and encouraged the Belgian government to review the language laws, and in particular the way in which they are applied in municipalities with so-called special language arrangements, to allow the use of both French and Dutch.  In an official statement, Vlaams Belang, the Flemish separatist political party, dismissed the Council’s recommendations as the ridiculous result of lobbying of the French speaking community in the international bodies.  The so-called Crainhem, Wezembeek-Oppem, and Linkebeek mayors row represents a continuation of local governmental controversies infamous in Belgium (like the Leeuw-Saint Pierre and Voeren disputes, addressed below). Following on the heels of the crippling 2007-2008 Belgian political crisis and the late November collapse in federal reform discussions between Flemish leaders and their Walloon counterparts, the mayors row has only served to exacerbate Belgian communitarian strife. This is, as will be demonstrated in the following pages, should be a matter of Continental interest.
In his novel Bleak House (1852-3), Charles Dickens included a trenchant pasquinade of the divided nature of the British body politic of his time : "England has been in a dreadful state for some weeks. Lord Coodle would go out, Sir Thomas Doodle wouldn’t come in, and there being nobody in Great Britain (to speak of) except Coodle and Doodle, there has been no government…Still England has been some weeks in the dismal strait of having no pilot…to weather the storm ; and the marvellous part of the matter is that England has not appeared to care very much about it, but has gone on eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage as the old world did in the days before the flood. But Coodle knew the danger, and Doodle knew the danger, and all their followers and hangers-on had the clearest possible perception of the danger." 
With respect to modern-day Belgium, one could replace Dickens’ Coodle and Doodle with former and present Federal Prime Ministers Guy Verhofstadt and Yves Leterme, and the similarities would be uncanny. Yet in Belgium, the ongoing political crisis that was precipitated by the inconclusive June 10, 2007 federal elections, and exacerbated by the continuing linguistic and communitarian tensions between the country’s Flemish and Walloon regions, did not last merely some weeks but fully 196 days. It took until March 18, 2008 for a governing coalition to form, which in turn only lasted until September 21, when a key party withdrew its support for the federal government. And although the factions described by Dickens (modeled after those of William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli) could perceive the danger of such instability, there was no existential threat to the United Kingdom then as there assuredly is to Belgium now.
It has been pessimistically said that Belgium, positioned as it is along an ancient cultural-linguistic divide between French- and Dutch-speaking peoples, has lost its soul and, therefore, it should fall apart.  That in Belgium’s linguistic interstices conflict has traditionally been able to seed is undeniable, and such tensions have come to destabilize the very nerve center of a continent, the seat of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Certainly the dissonance between the post-modern project of pan-European integration and the fractious nature of the European Union’s host country is jarring. The story of how Belgian identity was formed, how the nation persisted and even flourished in spite of its internal contradictions, and how linguistic perforations inexorably expanded, leading to the federalization of what had once been a unitary state – to the point where six governments now rule one country – is consequential not just for the future of Belgium but for the entire European continent. Precisely how Belgium lost its soul, if indeed it ever had one, is a matter of surprising importance.
It is only by examining the longue durée of Belgian history and culture (sine ira et studio) that is it possible to comprehend the nation’s curious modern constitution, the better to anticipate future developments. Parts II and III below provide such a narrative approach, tracking the waxing and waning of the Belgian unitary state. The fascinating result of mounting linguistic strife – Belgium’s total constitutional, federal, devolutionary reform – is addressed in Part IV, whereupon the sensitive matter of Belgium’s future can finally be considered (Part V). Ultimately, it is a national prospect few remain entirely sanguine about, but, as Livy assures us, the sun of all days has not yet set,  and any treatment of Belgium’s current tribulations must remain open-ended. In any event, it is fitting that this tale of Flemings and Walloons, Liberals and Catholics, socialists and free marketeers, noble sentiments and petty convictions, lofty nationalism and parochial regionalism, unity and schism – taking place as it does in the famously bourgeois Belgium – should begin with a night at the opera.
II - LA PATRIE : THE RISE OF THE BELGIAN UNITARY STATE
It was on the evening of August 25, 1830, in a politically charged atmosphere, that the Bruxellois Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie  staged a performance of Daniel Auber’s opera La Muette de Portici, with the renowned Adolphe Nourrit as lead tenor. Given the tensions between the Belgian populace and their allegedly authoritarian suzerain in the Netherlands, King Willem I, as well as Auber’s plotline (an Italian rebellion against the Spanish Habsburgs), one could have anticipated a certain amount of jingoistic sentiment being engendered by the opera’s stirring arias. Few, however, would have foreseen the geopolitical bouleversement that was soon to come.
Nourrit, playing the role of the humble Neapolitan fisherman-turned-revolutionary Tommaso Aniello (dit Masaniello), unleashed the aria Amour sacré de la patrie (Sacred Love of the Fatherland) on an altogether receptive audience.
Mieux vaut mourir que rester misérable !
Pour un esclave est-il quelque danger ?
Tombe le joug qui nous accable.
Et sous nos coups périsse l’étranger !
Amour sacré de la patrie,
Rends-nous l’audace et la fierté ;
A mon pays je dois la vie ;
Il me devra sa liberté.
[Better to die than to remain miserable !
Is there any danger for a slave ?
Drop the yoke that burdens us,
And under our blows may the foreigners perish !
Sacred love of the Fatherland,
Give us courage and pride ;
To my country I owe my life ;
It will owe me its liberty.] 
The so-called opera riot ensued as the Bruxellois theatergoers spilled out of la Monnaie and into the streets. Riot turned into outright insurrection against the Dutch authorities. King Willem dithered, and the insurgent Belgians – with their French backers – fended off sporadic Dutch attempts to reassert control over their roiling southern provinces. Bitter street fighting occurred in Brussels between September 23 and 26 ; these sanguineous events were to be memorably commemorated in court painter Gustaaf Wappers’ Rubensian Episode des Journées de Septembre 1830 sur la Place de l’Hôtel de Ville de Bruxelles (Episode from the September Days of 1830 on the Grand Place in Brussels) (1835), which currently has pride of place in the entrance hall of the Musée d’Art Ancien in Brussels. Waapers’ Romantic nationalist work, with its pyramidal composition of bourgmestres hoisting the Belgian tricolor flag, vividly conveys the sense of spontaneity and solidarity embodied by the revolution of 1830.
The Hague-based United Kingdom of the Netherlands, a creation of the Congress of Vienna (1815), was no more, and Europe had a new member of the concert of nations (albeit one that straddled the northern European cultural-linguistic divide between speakers of French and Dutch). As a result, for the purposes of nation-building Belgium would, in the words of the Antoine Clesse, need to possess one heart to love the fatherland and two lyres to sing its praise.  The challenges of making such an arrangement work would come to define Belgium, for in spite of the dramatic origins of the kingdom, the Flemish struggle for recognition and the French-speaking stubborn resistance to recognition perforce introduced an element of disruption and fragmentation.  At first, however, the Belgian state assumed it could obviate such concerns.
Before the bourgeois opera riots that led to Belgian independence had even taken place, one leading Belgian newspaper already was insisting that [t]he Belgians have a nationality which one can ignore only by repudiating the extensive evidence of their history and by taking into account none of the numerous characteristics they still display today.  And three years before that seminal event, the historical novelist Henri-Guillaume Moke had penned Le Gueux de Mer ou La Belgique sous le Duc d’Albe (The Sea Beggars or Belgium under the Duke of Alba), arguably the first Belgian historical novel, thereby catalyzing an intellectual movement aimed at creating a feeling of Belgian nationality by mobilizing the great episodes of the national past.  The shared history of the Flemish and Walloon populations of Belgium, which together had comprised the Roman Catholic portion of the Low Countries, retained by the Habsburgs as the Austrian Netherlands after the Calvinist Netherlandish United Provinces had successfully rebelled, certainly mattered to the Belgian founding fathers. During the formative period of Belgian identity, one notes with interest, identities were not yet seen in purely binary terms ; Francophone aristocrats like Prince Charles-Joseph de Ligne would refer to themselves as Flemish, since the word Walloon was then generally applied to the poor. 
The legacy of the year 1789, which featured a revolution in Belgium as well as France, likewise played a role in Belgian identity formation. The Brabantine Revolution threw off the Austrian yoke and led to the États-Belgiques-Unis, or United Belgian States,  which, though a political failure, buttressed the notion of an independent Belgium. Interestingly, as Neal Ascherson has pointed out, the coincidence with Parisian revolutions was for the most part one of timing only.  After all,
"The 1789 Brabançonne revolution degenerated into the spectacle of monks leading lynch mobs against the minority of genuine radicals. These had taken up arms against the despotism of Joseph II [of Austria], not against his anti-clericalism, and the victorious people of Brussels impaled on their pikes the heads of freethinkers, not of aristocrats." 
This Belgian Roman Catholic religiosity, combined with an attachment to…traditional constitution and privileges, had prompted Voltaire to opine in 1740 that Brussels is the extinguisher of the imagination, indeed the home of ignorance and stupid indifference. 
Voltairean invective aside, from a nation-building standpoint these deeply-rooted attitudes and mores were not necessarily drawbacks. During this first Belgian revolution, a Dutch-language pamphlet entitled Den bekeerden boer of Samenspraeke tusschen eenen Patriot ende eenen Boer, Raekende de Troubels van dezen tyd (The converted farmer or dialogue between a Patriot and a Farmer, Touching the Troubles of these times) began to circulate, featuring the sentiment that the Belgians had always been a free people, and a country of state, governed by our laws, constitutions and privileges.  The past, then, was the key to the future. The pamphlet’s anonymous author went on to insist that a Patriot is a member of the Fatherland ; that is to say, Patriots are all born in one and the same country, and the country in which one is born, is one’s Fatherland.  That Fatherland was to be Belgium, not Wallonia or Flanders. (It is noteworthy, however, that this imagined dialogue was between a Patriot and a Flemish farmer, the latter of whom ominously required conversion, and pledged to explain everything to my fellow farmers and do my utmost to convert them in the same way that I have been converted, with no explicit guarantee of success.  )
Thus Belgian nation-building, ab ovo, was seen by its political architects as an eminently feasible project, though not one without challenges. Compromises would have to be made. As Jean Beaufays astutely described, the 1830 uprising had been essentially fomented by a French-speaking Catholic bourgeoisie, which
"took over a movement that it had partially brought into existence. In spite of its economic interests, the French-speaking bourgeoisie rejected the preeminence of the Dutch language and of Calvinism in Belgium. The Flemish lower bourgeoisie, which then, in sentiment and loyalty, was more Catholic than Flemish, supported this antilinguistic orientation. The Belgian bourgeoisie that came to power was able to constitute a unitary French-speaking state, one that attempted to erase all factors that could appear and act as a dividing force in the new state." 
Key Belgian interest groups were thus willing to ignore the linguistic contradictions of the new Belgian state, the better to create unitary, centralized, Jacobin, and unilingual system of government.  Yet Beaufays’ use of the word Jacobin is somewhat misleading ; the goals of the Belgian of insurrectionists in 1830 were basically liberal, not revolutionary, hence the subsequent reliance on the extensive evidence of [Belgian] history, in addition to rhetoric of a Belgian hour of awakening from a deep sleep of the spirit, or that of a phoenix rising from the ashes of Dutch depredation. In the words of Jo Tollebeek, Belgium was young, but old as well ; it had the necessary vitality to carry through the elites’ vision of the future, but also possessed sufficient credentials of seniority not to be treated as a parvenu. 
Post-revolutionary Belgian policymakers recognized the importance of harnessing some sort of usable past. Four years after the revolution, Minister Charles Rogier informed Belgium’s first king, Leopold I, that now Belgium had regained its independence after having experienced so many ups and downs, the knowledge of the facts intertwined with its history had acquired a degree of importance which it did not have in any other period.  This history was the key to Belgian national identity formation, and could serve to forestall any Fleming-Walloon tensions. During these heady days of early independence, nationalist histories of Belgium could not be published quickly enough ; Etienne-Constantin de Gerlache, Henri-Guillaume Moke, and Theodore Just constituted a triumvirate of chroniclers of the centuries-long march towards statehood. Teleological treatments of Belgian history grew out of the conviction that the new nation-state had an incontestable right to exist, and these and other historians understandably wanted to give a historical foundation to that right to exist.  Equally understandable was a reluctance to stress the potential linguistic contradictions that could undermine the nascent state going forward.
After all, nationhood meant something different during the early revolutionary period than what it came to represent later on. Emmanuel Joseph, abbé Sieyès, had defined la nation as a body of associates living under a common law, while the French Constitution of 1791 made nationhood basically synonymous with the body politic.  The historian Simon Schama summarized that the revolutionary definition of nationhood…was unrelated to the traditional divisions of language, territory and history but was instead based on the assertion of a primary political principle : the equality of the members of a given community.  With the early Belgian government clearly influenced by just such a political theory, it would not have seemed altogether outlandish for the Austrian Netherlands to seamlessly transition into the United States of Belgium, and then (after Napoleonic incubation and Willemite suppression) into the Kingdom of the Belgians, without being torn asunder over the matter of tongues rather than hearts or minds.
That said, the situation on the ground in northern Belgium (Dutch-speaking Flanders) was not as straightforward as the predominantly Francophone (and often Francophile) revolutionaries had maintained. As popular as the 1830 revolution had been in Brussels, Orangist (pro-Dutch) sympathies were still extant. On October 21, 1830, the picturesque Flemish town of Brugge (Bruges) rose against the young Belgian government, along with the provinces of Limburg and Antwerp. The risings were soon quashed by the trio of revolutionary generals Daine, Niellon, and Mellinet, the latter two of whom, the modern-day Flemish nationalist historian Paul Belien archly noted, were Frenchmen.  (Indeed, of the 24 highest-ranking officers in the new Belgian army, only 4 were native-born, while only 150 of some 2,700 commissioned officers were themselves actually Belgian.  )
The revolutionaries, despite their liberal credentials, were firm in their response to Orangism. A Walloon from Liège, Louis Gaillard, a Willemite loyalist colonel in the Dutch army, was hanged from a tree of liberty in the market square of Leuven.  The stage was set for a policy of unilingualism. The aforementioned Charles Rogier, as Interior Minister, was to declare in 1832 that
"The first principle of good administration rests on the exclusive use of one language, and it is obvious that in Belgium this language must be French. To achieve this result, it is essential that all civil and military posts be entrusted to Walloons, so that the Flemings, being temporarily deprived from such employment, will be obliged to learn French." 
Much of the Flemish bourgeoisie was willing to accommodate itself with the new geopolitical reality, but later Flemish nationalists would bemoan Rogier’s policy of disenfranchisement, as well as the fact that, between the limited Belgian franchise and the Orangist election boycotts, the first Belgian National Congress was elected by less than one percent of the populace.  Moreover, a significant portion of the Walloon delegates to the 200-man assembly supported, overtly or covertly, a politically improbable union with France. As the Francophile congressman Gilles-François Davignon put it, there are but a handful amongst us who would not admit that they have always been convinced that we shall soon return to France. 
This was not to be, and by 1831 the Belgian state had a monarch of its own : Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, uncle of Britain’s eventual Queen Victoria and an internationally acceptable candidate. The new king may have been dependent on France to ward off Willem’s revanchist tendencies, but he embodied Belgium’s novelty. Plus, having been born in Coburg, Leopold was neither Fleming nor Walloon. Later critics could simplistically deride Belgium for being an artificial construction and not a nation, never becoming a fatherland that was loved by its people but remaining a mere gravy train for those who defended it.  Still, Belgium now possessed a common constitution, a more or less homogenous religious make-up, a shared history (distinct from both France and the Netherlands), and a legitimate monarchy. That, Belgium’s founding fathers hoped, would be more than enough to cement their new political construction.
III - FROM LIBERALS AND CATHOLICS TO FLEMINGS AND WALLOONS : THE DECLINE OF THE BELGIAN UNITARY STATE
Despite the malice Flemish nationalists were to develop towards the initially unitary, unilingual Belgian state (an understandable attitude when one considers the implications of Minister Rogier’s inequitable policies), the first half of Belgian history was not characterized solely by conflicts between linguistic camps ; it was the epic struggle between liberals and Catholics that would frequently destabilize the young nation. This is not to say linguistic tensions were wholly absent (as we will see), but nonetheless during this period numerous Belgian intellectuals worked tirelessly in the service of national identity formation (pace Paul Belien, who has written that no one loved Belgium  ). Nationalist historians like Gerlache, Moke, and Just plumbed the depths of Belgian history, while Flemish writers like Prudens van Duyse strove to reconcile regional flamingantism with overall Belgian loyalty. In 1840, van Duyse’s Vaderlandsche Poezie featured a rhetorical debate between a French chorus, which (echoing Davignon) threatened that
"Sooner or later before mighty Paris it will lie again prostrated ;
The Belgian people exists in name alone !
Frenchification in bone and marrow should creep unabated ;
‘t Would be most frenchified !"
while an opposing Belgian chorus of bards retorted
"No, no ! repeated each patriotic bosom ;
I remain a Belgian, as the Lord created me.
Away, French chalice, with your poisoned dregs !
Fall down, into the deepest abyss sink ye !" 
By 1867 Belgian nationalist literature reached its apogee in the form of Charles de Coster’s La Légende d’Ulenspiegel, a French language novel with a sixteenth century Flemish hero, the text of which was deliberately interspersed with numerous flandricismes and literal translations of Flemish words and expressions.  (De Coster would even go so far as to insist that the ancient French language is the sole language that can be translated easily into Flemish,  an unlikely but certainly congenial opinion.) These top-down efforts towards internal cultural conciliation, though ultimately unsuccessful, were not without effect. The French Encyclopédie nouvelle of 1836 could snipe that
"Belgium has no history. In the past it was fragmented and dependent… Belgium has no heart, no individual nationality, no name apart from the forgotten name which it has borrowed from the old Gaul, thereby breaking the thread of tradition." 
Belgians like van Duyse and de Coster, at least to a certain extent, proved otherwise.
The often-invoked pax belgica was, throughout the nineteenth century, necessarily a work in progress. The steadily increasing strife between the Liberal and Catholic Belgian camps would represent a struggle over the identity of the young nation, as the religiosity that had played such an important role in Belgian history became another source of instability. Though not as existential a threat as linguistic tensions would prove, this social, political, and religious debate would set the stage for future centrifugal developments.
Karl Marx may have once referred to the Belgian state as the paradise of the capitalist, landlord, and priest,  but this did not mean that the capitalists and priests got along. Equipoise between Liberals and Catholics was possible during the early years of the Belgian monarchy thanks to a strict régime censitaire (property qualification) for membership in the pays légal (electorate), meaning that the vast majority of… [the] profoundly and incuriously Catholic population had little access to representation.  This undemocratic arrangement produced an uneasy alliance between Catholics (mainly Flemings) and Walloons (with the Liberals predominant) [which] led to the Flemings accepting that French should be taught in their schools and to the Liberals admitting the principle of ‘free’ Catholic schools to operate alongside an official state school system.  (It must be interjected here that the Liberal party gradually developed a left and right wing, the former of which would be increasingly socialistic.) In spite of Belgium’s electoral safeguards, however, the religious-secular rift was growing. Outside observers, like the editorialists at the Times of London, viewed these developments with suspicion :
"At the last election  no Liberal candidate was returned for Ghent, and the whole of the Flemish provinces are rotten boroughs in the hands of the priests. Hence the danger lest the church should become the greater, the State the minor power in the country." 
By 1864 the Belgian Catholic populace had Pope Pius IX’s hard-line Encyclical Quanta Cura as a guiding document, prompting heightened opposition to secular educational and political principles.  To counteract this increasing fervor, a Liberal government in 1879 introduced a profoundly secular education bill – soon dubbed the Loi de Malheur, or the Tragic Law – that sought to establish official schools in each commune (while preventing local governments from subsidizing Catholic schools), as well as require teachers (including priests) to attend government-run training colleges. For a Flemish village, solidly Catholic and possessing only one building suitable for use as a school, in which most of the teachers were trained by the Church, Neal Ascherson has opined, the bill was tyranny.  The Catholic camp bemoaned the Socialist torrent which threatens to overwhelm order and property.  Whatever common cause Liberals and Catholics had made against Willem I had now faded into irrelevancy. More troublingly, the social divide was taking on linguistic dimensions.
Increasingly popular was the Flemish Movement, a social and political force whose manifesto (introduced in 1847) first attracted supporters from the educated lower middle classes, such as teachers, writers and also priests, many of whom saw the [Flemish] language as the deposit and protector of the Christian Flemish soul.  Starting in 1875, a Catholic Flemish Student Movement began agitating on behalf of the Catholic cause and powered the radical Flemish-democratic inner opposition.  In the literary arena, the logical extension of Prudens van Duyse’s nationalistic Francophobia (Away, French chalice) was a more strident flamingantism, as evidenced by the writing of Karel Lodewijk Ledeganck, who in De Drie Zustersteden (The Three Sister Cities) (1846) exhorted his readership to
"Be Flemish-hearted and Flemish-minded,
Be Flemish in your language and Flemish in your customs." 
Or, as the poet-priest Guido Gezelle put it, Be a Fleming, that God hath created a Fleming.  This does not necessarily imply that Flemish cultural nationalism (or sub-nationalism) was anti-Belgian, but Flanders was clearly moving in a different direction. Piet Couttenier has made the observation that these Flemish writers’ devotion to Belgium led to an increasing awareness of their Flemish roots.  While this may have been the case with van Duyse and likeminded thinkers, by the time Flemish writers forged an alliance with the Flemish Movement it was quite clear that Belgium was in the midst of a pronounced cultural bifurcation. Flanders was well on the way down the nationalist path described by the Czech historian Miroslav Hroch, which proceeds from scholarly interest to patriotic agitation before culminating in mass support.  When the latter stage was reached late in the nineteenth century, it was inevitable that [i]nstead of simply demanding equal rights for their language, the Flemish activists wanted to create a Flemish-Belgian culture, which would make its own unique contribution to European civilization.  Legislative victories grew out of the popular regional support for Flemish sub-nationalism. By 1893 universal male suffrage transformed the traditional pays légal, and in 1898 Dutch came to be recognized as an official language of the Belgian kingdom. Flemish nationalism was bearing fruit. July 11 became a Flemish holiday, a Flemish anthem was penned, and depictions of the Flemish symbol (of a black lion against a yellow field) proliferated.  The socialist Edmond Picard would in 1897 introduce the optimistic phrase âme belge (Belgian soul) into common parlance,  but the cracks in the Belgian edifice were spreading. While Jean Stengers correctly noted that [l]e développement du nationalisme politique, dans le cas de la Flandre, a été particulièrement lent (the development of political nationalism, in the case of Flanders, was particularly slow),  in time Flemish nationalism would become powerful enough to provoke an equal and opposite reaction, in the form of the early-twentieth century Walloon Movement.
By the eve of the First World War, the Walloon Movement in Belgium’s French-speaking regions had successfully aped its Flemish counterpart, with its nationalistic motto (Wallonie toujours, or Wallonia forever), its emblem (replacing the Flemish black lion with a red chanticleer),  and its yearly holiday (in late September, to honor the 1830 revolutionaries). The Movement’s ultimate aim remained the defence of both the regional development of Wallonia and personal linguistic freedom for Francophones to speak their language everywhere in Belgium, irrespective of regional boundaries,  though there was one facet in which the Walloon nationalist did not track their Flemish counterparts : the religious element [was] totally lacking from the discourse of the Walloon militants at the end of the 19th century.  Tensions could only mount between the two linguistic groups ; the situation soon devolved to the point where the Walloon pundit Jules Destrée could, in an open letter to King Albert I published in the Revue de Belgique (August 15, 1912), infamously insist that there is no such thing as a Belgian soul. The fusion of Flemings and Walloons is not to be desired and, if one were to desire it, one would have to admit that it is not possible.  As for Flemish attempts to equalize language rights, Destrée fulminated :
"They have robbed us of our language. More specifically, they are in the process of doing so. For the moment we are experiencing the threat and the humiliation. This dismal action is being carried out slowly, step by step, with no sudden outbursts but with a stubborn patience so typical of [all] their conquests." 
The slow evolution of Flemish sub-national identity observed by Stengers was, to Destrée, in fact a deliberate revolution against the old order, with the ultimate goal of conquest and Dutchification. Such attitudes were the natural and probable consequences of Francophone Belgium’s traditional cultural superiority, its demographic inferiority, and its increasing political vulnerability.
The annus horribilis of 1914 brought with it the notorious German onslaught against the previously studiously neutral Belgium, and the beleaguered King Albert and his administration required a united nation, not one of feuding Flemish and Walloon Movements. In soaring rhetoric Albert reached into the distant past for the sake of wartime reconciliation, commemorating the Bataille des éperons d’or (in Flemish, the Guldensporenslag, or in English the Battle of the Golden Spurs), a 1302 clash in which Flemish knights repelled Gallic invaders, as well as the deeds of the (Walloon) inhabitants of the town of Franchimont (in Liège), who held out against the Duke of Burgundy in the fifteenth century.  Endearing in hindsight, and initially successful in inspiring Belgian patriotism in the hour of the country’s greatest geopolitical and military challenge, Albert’s poignant sentiments, rooted as they were quite deep in Belgian history, failed to have a lasting effect. By invoking these two regional struggles during the high Middle Ages, Albert was understandably emphasizing the antiquity of the southern Netherlandish identity as well as Belgium’s attachment to traditional constitution and privileges. But given the open animosity between the Flemish and Walloon factions, the seemingly more relevant – at least for jingoistic purposes – legacy of the founding 1830 revolution was, if not off limits, potentially controversial. Flemings, after all, might instead be reminded of that era’s Machiavellian anti-Orangist policies. Better to conjure up the distant, hazy image of golden Flemish spurs than the more recent Brussels barricades of the September Days, the latter of which invited recollections of poor Louis Gaillard swinging from a liberty tree.
While Belgium languished under partial occupation, German authorities developed a so-called Flamenpolitik to seek out local allies ; a number of the more radical Flemish groups took the bait.  In the trenches, Walloons and Flemings still fought and bled for their nation, but this did not mean that sub-nationalism faded away. By 1917, Flemish leaders at the front had demanded that Flanders be granted self-government after the war, though this could have meant anything from a federal state, disbanding Belgium, or incorporation into the Netherlands.  It did not help matters much that Flemish nationalism was strengthened by the humiliation of Dutch-speaking privates by their Francophone officers.  Many Flemish war veterans thereupon sought membership in the Verbond der Vlaamse Oudstrijders (Union of Flemish Veterans) and its political offshoot, Vlaamsche Front (Flemish Front, better known as the Frontpartij). Thus had a new strain of militancy in the Flemish-Walloon tensions been introduced to Belgian politics. That same year, 1917, a Liberal Walloon MP, Charles Magnette, had written his king to pass along Francophone opinions wholly out of keeping with Albert’s lofty rhetoric of Belgian unity :
"It is intolerable that after the war 4.5 million Flemings decide the fate of 3 million Walloons. I have heard many people, even civilised and cultivated men, declare that rather than to live under the yoke of the Flemings, rather than allowing a culture and a language which is not theirs imposed on them, they prefer to go where the affinity of their race calls them : to France." 
Like La Muette de Portici’s Masaniello, Magnette conjured up the image of a foreign yoke imposed on the Belgian people. Dutchification had been the key concern in the 1830 revolution ; the expanded Belgian franchise and the Flemish demographic advantage caused the same specter to be raised again.
If linguistic tensions could not be bottled up during the First World War, the end of conflict and occupation would do Belgium no favors. February 1919 featured the first (and last) act of Flemish nationalist terrorism : two bombs which exploded harmlessly.  In the future, autonomists in Flanders would exhibit the stubborn patience Jules Destrée found so infuriating, rather than open Irish Republican Army-like confrontation. Political party development continued apace during the interwar period, as the Flemish Frontpartij had its own offspring, including the Verbond van Dietsche Nationaal-Solidaristen (League of Dutch-Speaking National Solidarists, also called Verdinaso), which itself begat the Vlaamsch Nationaal Verbond (Flemish National Union), a party that adopted a totally revised program : Once left-wing and democratic, it was now right-wing and authoritarian.  (This was perhaps only natural ; its founder, Joris van Severen, was a devotee of Benito Mussolini.) Meanwhile, on the intellectual front, Hendrik Elias, a historian and future member of the Flemish National Union, attacked the Southern Netherlandish underpinnings of the Belgian state in his book Onze wording tot natie (Our Development into a Nation), perversely published on the occasion of Belgium’s centenary. In it, Elias held that there existed only a Dutch national identity, and that there had never been a Southern-Netherlandic or Belgian one.  Although Flemings like Camille Huysmanns could still insist that most Belgians want to be and to remain two free peoples in one state and that [d]ifferences in civilisations are not a sign of poverty…[but] a sign of intellectual wealth,  overall what had been a hard Flemish line was becoming adamantine.
Meanwhile, the majority of Walloons (autonomists and moderates) were growing increasingly weary of communitarian conflict, and began to ally with a new party, the Ligue d’Action wallonne, which favoured autonomy for both the Flemish and Walloon peoples and accepted that Flanders should freely decide its own destiny.  By 1938, just before the next geopolitical body blow Belgium would receive from Germany, members of the Walloon Movement proposed in the Chamber of Representatives to reform the state along federalist lines.  This was also the year that the Institut Jules Destrée – named after the Walloon luminary who felt fusion with Flemings neither possible nor desirable – was founded for the purposes of promoting regional development. Though still a unitary state, Belgium was being pushed to its socio-political breaking point.
Further complicating matters were the inroads fascism made into Belgium in the form of the Rexist Party, presumptuously named after Christus Rex, Christ the King, and bearing appropriate double entendres for the Dutch words rechts (right) and recht (straight). The Rexist Party, which achieved considerable electoral gains in 1936, was founded by the Walloon Léon Degrelle, who vowed to bring about a corporatist state that would be authoritarian and fully imbued with Christian values (hence the name).  Rexism came to occupy the far right of the Wallonian political spectrum, while the Flemish National Union represented Flanders’ Rexist counterpart. Even when it came to extreme rightist politics, Belgium could not steer clear of linguistic binarism. It was inevitable that, as Louis Vos put it, both the Rexist and Flemish-Nationalist ideological emphasis on differences between ‘our own people’ and ‘outsiders’ was to provide a breeding-ground for National Socialism and for collaboration with the Nazi occupiers in the second world war.  The Belgian novelist Hugo Claus, in his bildungsroman masterpiece Het Verdriet van België (The Sorrow of Belgium), summed up the contradictions within contradictions that afflicted his nation during the Nazi Second World War occupation in a dialogue between the book’s protagonist Louis Seynaeve and his militant friend Vlieghe. Introducing his paramour, Vlieghe announces
That’s her, my little kerlinne [junior female member of the Nationale Jeugstorm, or National Youth Strike Force, allied with the Nazi Youth of Flanders]. In two months’ time, if the Americans don’t get here first, she’ll be a Stormster [a senior member of the Jeugstorm].
Houzee [a pseudo-archaic Flemish greeting popular amongst local fascists], said the kerlinne.
I thought it was ‘Heil Vlaanderen,’ said Louis.
We are Great Netherlanders, said Vlieghe’s girl…
It is imperative that we make up our minds whether we are able to preserve our identity as Flemings and Great Netherlanders or whether we should be incorporated into the German Reich, recited Vlieghe under her benevolent gaze." 
The Flemish fascists acknowledged they were caught in a linguistic-political bind, in which loyalties were divided between the Netherlands and the Third Reich. Belgium itself was hardly in the equation. That only a small minority of Flemings held the same views as the Nationale Jeugstorm would not blunt the post-war feelings of betrayal on the parts of Belgian nationalists in Brussels and Wallonia.
While Belgians suffered at the hands of, or accommodated with, their Axis occupiers, the increasingly confident Allied leaders considered the post-war prospects of the European continent. With respect to the altogether querulous, bantam Kingdom of Belgium, President Franklin Roosevelt wrote to the British politician Oliver Lyttelton in 1942, putting forth an uncomplicated analysis and solution :
"In Belgium there are two communities. One are called Walloons and they speak French, the others are called Flemings and they speak a kind of low Dutch. They can’t live together. After the war, we should make two states, one known as Wallonia and one as Flamingia, and we should amalgamate Luxembourg with Flamingia. What do you say to that ?" 
As it happened, how Belgians themselves would answer Roosevelt’s question would come to represent the dominant issue of post-war Belgian politics.
IV - SPLITSUNG : THE FALL OF THE BELGIAN UNITARY STATE
Just as the Great War had not created space for peacetime reconciliation, neither did the end of the Second World War. Linguistic cleavages again came to the fore in 1950 as the Catholic Party introduced a measure to reinstate King Leopold III (who had infamously surrendered to the Nazi invaders instead of forming a government in exile) in the face of vocal Socialist opposition. The Royal Question triggered riots in the Walloon cities of Liège and Hainault, and a popular referendum produced a majority in the king’s favor, but the regional disparity was striking as Flemings backed the reinstatement while Walloon community narrowly opposed it.  With the Christian-Democrat government unwilling to risk a civil war, Leopold was soon obliged to abdicate in favor of his son Baudouin, known as le roi triste (the sad king). Now, it was the Flemish community that could temporarily claim the moral high ground when it came to matters of Belgian nationalism.
By 1960 Belgium was again in political chaos. A government coalition involving Christian-Democrats and Liberals had been formed, with Prime Minister Gaston Eyskens at the helm. The government’s proposed Loi Unique (Single Act), which would end most subsidies for Wallonia’s struggling mines and factories, was predictably unpopular in southern Belgium ; the socialist Walloon leader André Renard proceeded to organize a five week long industrial strike involving some 700,000 workers.  Flanders was a non-factor in the strikes, prompting the formation of the Mouvement Populaire Wallon, which sought regional reform without cooperation with Flemish interests. By March 1961Eyskens’ coalition was abandoned by the Walloon electorate and met a crushing electoral defeat ; the subsequent government undid much of the Loi Unique and the social, political, and economic divisions between the two regions only widened. In later labor disputes André Cools, Renard’s successor, would insist that I have not been elected as a representative of Flemish labourers, and then would demand Flemish jobs be placed on the chopping block before those of his Walloon constituents. 
A year later, the Belgian government permanently fixed the linguistic frontier, which previously had been adjusted to reflect the changes in language use indicated by the decennial census.  This new internal border was far from uncontroversial ; twenty-five formerly Flemish communes were handed over to Wallonia, in return for twenty-four formerly Wallonian counterparts, prompting opposing language groups like the Flamingant Taal Aktie Komitie (Language Action Committee) and the francophone Action fouronnaise to square off.  In 1963 the Belgian government reached a compromise over the linguistic status of Brussels (a so-called francophone ink-stain technically in Flanders), rendering it henceforth bilingual, and in 1969 the erstwhile francophone University of Louvain (Leuven), east of Brussels, became the subject of Flemish protests, leading to its famous splitsung, or linguistic splitting.  The unitary Belgian state was effectively no more.
Belgium’s inevitable slide into regional unilingualism did not go entirely unchallenged. It was in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that the debate over Belgium’s linguistic segregation first gained international attention. In 1965 the ECHR addressed the claims of the francophone inhabitants of the town of Leeuw-Saint Pierre, who had challenged their municipality’s refusal to provide French language documentation on the grounds that such monoglotism constituted a violation of the rights enshrined in Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights (with respect to freedom of expression).  The Court was to find that Article 10 carried with it no express guarantee of linguistic freedom, but that same year the European Commission on Human Rights brought before the same Court what would become the case Relating to Certain Aspects of the Laws on the Use of Languages in Education in Belgium.  This was an unsurprising development, since few topics in Belgian history had proven more controversial than education policy. Previously the battleground between Liberals and Catholics, the fixing of the linguistic frontiers in 1963 had made Belgian schools the focus of surging language-centric debate. This was, perhaps, a more fundamental arena than the Court had dealt with in Inhabitants of Leeuw-St. Pierre v Belgium.
The applicants in the so-called Belgian Linguistic Cases were francophones residing in Alsemberg, Beersel, Antwerp, Ghent, Louvain, Vilvorde, and Kraainem, who together expressed concern that the Belgian state
(1) did not provide any French-language education in the municipalities where the Applicants live or, in the case of Kraainem, that the provision made for such education is, in their opinion, inadequate,
(2) withheld grants from any institutions in the said municipalities which may fail to comply with the linguistic provisions of the legislation for schools,
(3) refused to homologate leaving certificates issued by such institutions,
(4) did not allow the Applicants’ children to attend the French classes which exist in certain places, and
(5) thereby oblige[d] the Applicants either to enrol their children in local schools, a solution which they consider contrary to their aspirations, or to send them to school in the ‘Greater Brussels district’, where the language of instruction is Dutch or French according to the child’s mother-tongue or usual language or in the ‘French-speaking region’ (Walloon area). Such ‘scholastic emigration’ is said to entail serious risks and hardships. 
The Applicants alleged violations of Articles 8 of the Convention (which ensures that everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence), Article 14 of the Convention (which provides for protection against discrimination based on, inter alia, language…national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.), and Article 2 of the Convention’s Protocol of 20th March 1952 (stating that No person shall be denied the right to education and that the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions).  The Belgian government, defending its linguistic internal borders and its policy of satisfying Walloon and Flemish unilingualistic desires, insisted that only a small minority of the Belgian people were adversely affected, that there was nothing catastrophic about having the opportunity to become perfectly bilingual, and that the relative affluence of the applicants made scholastic emigration not in the least prohibitive.  Ultimately, the Court found that, since
"the [Belgian] legislature has instituted an educational system which, in the Dutch unilingual region, exclusively encourages teaching in Dutch, in the same way as it establishes the linguistic homogeneity of education in the French unilingual region. These differences in treatment of the two national languages in the two unilingual regions are, however, compatible with Article 2 of the Protocol, as the Court has interpreted it, and with Article 8 of the Convention, also when read in conjunction with Article 14." 
The ECHR felt compelled to decide in this manner, given that Article 2 of the Protocol guarantees no right to a particular kind of educational establishment, Article 14 contains no language with respect to education in a language of one’s choice, and Article 8 in no way guarantees the right to be educated in the language of one’s parents by the public authorities or with their aid.  The Belgian legislative Acts of 1963 relating to language policy had survived strong international legal challenges. The fight over Belgium’s future would henceforth be a legislative one, and over the coming decades a series of constitutional reforms would entirely alter the country’s political character.
Between 1970 and 1993, there were four separate rounds of constitutional revision. The first wave (1970) built on the linguistic regional reform of 1963, carving out four language areas (monolingual Flanders, monolingual Wallonia, bilingual Brussels, and a small German-speaking region in the east of Belgium), three Cultural Communities (Flemish, francophone, and German-speaking), and three Regions (Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels). A Region was defined as a geographic entity with decentralized economic powers, while a Cultural Community was designed to function as a federated institution…to which cultural competences from the central state (including education) were transferred.  This confusing arrangement was the result of a Flemish desire for cultural autonomy (borne out of the region’s discontent with its traditional treatment as a status minority) and Wallonian desire for regional economic control (stemming from the widespread dissatisfaction with how the recent industrial action had played out). The precise delineation of administrative responsibilities in the new Regions and Communities were – à la belge – punted for future governments to deal with. 
By 1980 the inadequacies of the decade-old framework were universally apparent, and that year’s round of constitutional reform featured important developments, for instance the removal of the word Cultural from Cultural Communities (while expanding their powers to include personalized services like health and social policy), as well as the introduction of a Court of Arbitration to handle disputes between Communities, Regions, and the central government.  Crucially, the Flemish Region and Flemish Community were merged, though no such merger took place between Wallonia and the French Community (what with left-wing Wallonia distrusting the Liberal Capital).  Finally, each Region and Community was allocated part of the national tax revenue to fund new competencies.
The bitter legacy of the 1963 fixation of the internal linguistic frontier had not disappeared a quarter-century later, however. In the town of Voeren (in French, Fourons), the charismatic mayor José Happart and his Happartistes demanded a change in the town’s language status ; Flemish authorities refused, fearing that a discussion about Voeren could trigger a new debate about the borders of Brussels.  Such was the trepidation over the Voeren/Fourons issue that, in October of 1987, the national government collapsed, triggering a new round of constitutional negotiations in 1988. Christian-Democrats, Socialists, and the Volksunie (Flemish People’s Union) managed to hammer out an agreement that made the Brussels region operational, replete with its own administration and elected parliament. Conflict prevention safeguards were added ; the Court of Arbitration was given the power of a Constitutional court, while previously optional Cooperation Agreements on transport and services between Regions and Communities became de rigueur.  Belgian nationalists were ecstatic. In a May Day speech following the enactment of the reform, the Walloon socialist Guy Spitaels announced : We, Francophones, we, Walloons, have won. Brussels will be a state on a par with Flanders and Wallonia, and the national solidarity mechanism will be to our advantage."  King Baudouin likewise hailed the reform, telling the nation that the new incarnation of a federal Belgium would promote unity, maintain solidarity between the various member states, and reject any form of separatism, overt or covert. 
Flemings may have welcomed the additional guarantees of minority rights in the Brussels Region, but Spitaels’ sentiments correctly implied that the 1988 reform was more of a boon to Wallonia than to Flanders. Brussels’ newfound parity with the other Regions of Belgium introduced a new counterweight to Flemish nationalist impulses, and the capital city’s location within the borders of Flanders ensured that refining the new Region’s status would use up much of Belgium’s political oxygen (which some would have preferred for nationalist-separatist projects). Already angered by the ink-stain of Brussels within Flemish borders, many Flemish politicians and their constituents were further aggravated by Belgian tax policy. Communities and regions are funded in large part by national taxes, with Flanders receiving 55% from the revenue pool for Communities, and 57.5% for the Region pool, whereas on a purely contributory basis it should receive around 64%.  Despite increasing federalization, Belgium’s tax policy remained essentially redistributive, much to the dissatisfaction of the majority of Flemings. Flanders had, after all, been driving the Belgian economy for some time, and it has been observed that Flemings wanted political power to match their new economic power.  Yet the unequal allocation of Community and Region funds implied that Belgium remained a political balancing act. Flanders had built-in economic advantages over Wallonia by the mid-twentieth century, which only increased over time : the proximity of the ports, the lower degree of trade unionism, a larger supply of labour force, better environmental conditions and the suitability of existing production.  To Flemish nationalists (even those who did not embrace separatism), this should have meant a proportional share of power in Belgium, and thus the right to the fruits of federalism. Instead, the political balancing at the national level had reintroduced the notion of the Flemings as a status minority, as Flemish political capital was less on a per capita basis than in relation to Wallonia. (To wit, Article 99 of the current Belgian Constitution continues to provide that the Council of Ministers is composed of an equal number of Netherlandish speaking and French speaking Ministers, regardless of demographics.  ) Further federalist efforts were inevitable.
By Fall of 1991 Belgium was once again in a state of political chaos, this time not over the status of Voeren, but rather over an unexpected dispute over a proposed arms sale to Saudi Arabia. Leftist Flemish political parties opposed the sale on ideological grounds, endangering a much-needed contract that would have been fulfilled by struggling Wallonian factories ; Wallonian politicians reacted by demanding the ability to issue their own export licenses.  A year later Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene was able to arrange for a new constitutional reform to deal with the ensuing crisis. The 1993 reform (the last to date) completely overhauled the Belgian Constitution, and cemented the official federalization of the country, including direct elections for the governments of the constituent units.  When the Belgian Constitution was originally adopted by the young nation on February 7, 1831, its opening words were Belgium is divided into provinces ; the new Article 1 of The Constitution of the Kingdom of Belgium now reads : Belgium is a federal State, composed of the Communities and the Regions.  The word divided may have disappeared from the text, but in the newly federal Belgium, internal divisions had become gaping socio-political chasms.
During the 1990s, Belgium’s domestic divisions were exacerbated by the rise of the Vlaams Blok (Flemish Block) Party, since renamed Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest). Vlaams Blok first stood for seats in Belgium’s parliament in 1981, but it took a decade for the party to make significant headway. The electoral success of 1991 led to the 1992 fashioning of the 70 Points Program, in which Vlaams Blok staked out two broad positions for its platform, summarized by Eva Brems as Flemish separatism and intolerance of non-European immigrants in Belgium.  The party’s early slogan, Eigen Volk Eerst ! (One’s Own People First !), certainly alluded to both issues. Another Flemish nationalist party, the older Volksunie, also enters the Flemish political equation, though Vlaams Blok likes to call itself the sole Flemish nationalist party in Flanders ; it despises the Volksunie for having betrayed Flemish nationalism by joining the Belgian Government and by rendering its party programme more social and more progressive.  Such a characterization is certainly accurate (if one sets aside the clear value judgment) ; after all, Hugo Schiltz, part of the left wing of Volksunie, declared :
"The moulding of a Flemish community will not any longer emanate from the Flemish Movement but from the Flemish institutions. The task of democratic Flemish nationalism is to provide these Flemish institutions with a sound sense of nationhood." 
Considering the history of the Flemish Movement, it is hard to believe that Flanders lacked a sense of nationhood ; the fight between Vlaams Blok and Volksunie (which would eventually shatter into a New Flemish Alliance Party and a more left-wing Spirit Party) concerned what nationalistic policies were sound.
During this same period, Wallonia failed (if that is the right word) to achieve similar levels of national fervor as were clearly evident in Flanders. This is because, in the opinion of Philippe Destatte, Wallonia found itself entangled in the Belgian national ideology and, then, it became entrapped in unilateral solidarity with Brussels.  That Wallonia is entangled in the ideology of its own nation would not ordinarily be considered surprising or disconcerting, but Belgium is admittedly a special case. This Wallonian identity without nationalist mania  has had consequences not just in terms of a lack of regional and communitarian parity with Flanders, but for the future of the Belgian nation itself. By identifying Wallonian interests with those of the central government and with Brussels (the better to counterbalance Flanders’ growing economic and political power), Walloon policymakers have essentially adopted the neo-Belgicist model, which sees the country as post-modern or post-national, with the absence of identity as the supreme morality.  Thus the March 6, 1998 neo-Belgicist open letter published in the daily newspaper De Standaard entitled Gedaan met nationalistische dwaasheid (Let’s stop nationalistic foolishness), which declared Belgium itself to be an antidote against nationalism.  In such a climate, it is perhaps unsurprising that in 2004 the more proactive Vlaams Belang came to represent nearly a quarter of the Flemish electorate.  Belgium was on the brink of yet another political crisis.
The June 2007 federal elections cast Belgium into the longest stalemate in its history. The Flemish Christian Democrat Yves Leterme orchestrated impressive gains, but failed to form a governing coalition. Flemish nationalists had been demanding further devolution, seeing enhanced self-rule a distinct possibility following parliamentary headway. Walloons and Belgian nationalists of course balked, fearing the redressing of Flemish tax policy grievances (and therefore diminished services). At the same time, Walloon demands for a territorial corridor to the linguistically-besieged Brussels region became increasingly vocal. Political deadlock lasted fully nine months, with liberal former Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt overseeing a caretaker government as requested by King Albert II. (It was not until March 18, 2008 that five political parties, including Dutch- and French-speaking elements, liberals, Christian-Democrats, and socialists, were able to form a government led by Yves Leterme.  )
Rhetoric naturally became heated on both sides of the linguistic divide. Paul Van Orshoven, a Flemish law professor, ominously raised the point that in the Czech Republic and Slovakia (which experienced a famous Velvet Divorce), constitutional developments had proceeded in a way that had not been foreseen (Ook Tsjechië en Slowakije zijn uiteengegaan op een manier waarin in de grondwet niet was voorzien) ; Van Orshoven then invoked the French Revolutionary Tennis Court Oath in defense of purportedly legitimate Flemish nationalistic behavior.  This Jacobin allusion may seem out of place on several levels – the 2007 Belgian inability to form a government does not quite amount to the circumstances of the French Revolution, and such a reference point sounds strange coming as it does from the traditionally Orangist, rather than Jacobin, Flemish position – but in any case such references represented a distinct ratcheting up of the separatist rhetoric.
In his 1930 address to the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Camille Huysmanns observed that both Belgian linguistic groups have an intellectual hinterland – France and Holland. They thus find support outside.  During and after the 2007-8 Belgian crisis, a series of polls indicated that the populations of Belgium’s dual hinterlands were willing to play a role in the country’s future. Observers in France, like Alexandre Adler, have placed considerable emphasis on the fact that
c’est le 14 Juillet que l’on fête à Liège, c’est à Paris que l’on a sacré Michaux, Marguerite Yourcenar, Simenon et même le prix Nobel de littérature belge, Maurice Maeterlinck, qui jugeait sa langue natale flamande impropre à la literature [It is July 14 that Liège celebrates, it is Paris that anointed [the writers] Michaux, Marguerite Yourcenar, Simenon, and the Belgian Nobel Prize for Literature winner Maurice Maeterlinck, who found his native Flemish to be unfit for literature]. 
Adler even went so far as to propose that, in light of the Belgian political deadlock, [c]omme Helmut Kohl en 1990, Nicolas Sarkozy a donc toutes les chances de devoir gouverner une France plus grande (like Helmut Kohl in 1990, [French President] Nicolas Sarkozy has the chance to become the governor of a greater France).  This extreme view was in fact reinforced by an Ifop poll published in La Voix du Nord in August of 2008 that indicated that fully 60 per cent of [French] respondents would favour annexing Wallonia to France if Belgium separates, while 49 per cent of [Wallonian] respondents are in favour of incorporation, while 45 per cent disagree.  In the Netherlands, Belgium’s other cultural-political hinterland, a recent TNS NIPO poll found 77 percent of Dutch respondents welcoming a merger with Flanders, 61 percent considering such a merger a net positive for Belgium (or what would be left of it), and 85 percent envisioning intensified cooperation with Flanders (intensievere samenwerking met de Vlamingen) regardless of the outcome.  Such opinions are held for reasons of historical-linguistic sympathy, and of course ignore the numerous factors that continue to bind Flanders and Wallonia ; nonetheless, the apparently welcoming attitude of the French and Dutch populace has certainly not improved communitarian tensions.
By July 15, 2008, the rickety Belgian government was near collapse. Prime Minister Leterme dramatically announced that [i]t appears that the communities’ conflicting visions of how to give a new equilibrium to our state have become incompatible...The federal consensus-model has reached its limits.  Leterme tendered his resignation to King Albert, only to have it rejected with an attached admonition to redouble efforts at constitutional reform. On September 21, 2008 the New Flemish Alliance pulled out of the governing coalition, citing a lack of devolutionary progress. Signs of further tearing at the Belgian social fabric are increasingly evident ; on the way into the Flemish Brabantine town of Liedekerke, a sign reads LIEDEKERKE : waar Vlamingen thuis zijn (LIEDEKERKE : where Flemings are at home).  Linguistic wrangling likewise continues apace. The issue of the so-called mayors row, sparked by the Flemish government’s refusal to ratify the elections of Damien Thiéry, Arnold d’Oreye de Lantremange and François van Hoobrouck d’Aspres to the offices of mayors of three Brussels suburbs (owing to the election documentation having been incorrectly provided in the French language), has recently found its way in front of the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, further stoking tensions. 
Time will tell how – or if – the requested federal reform will take place. Given the recurring nature of these Belgian constitutional crises, it is tempting to shrink from any concrete consideration of future developments, and to go no further than the closing line of Hugo Claus’ novel The Sorrow of Belgium : We’ll see. We’ll see. Anyhow.  But Belgium’s communitarian chaos is not without broader consequences, and provides a poignant lesson in how national identity and nationalism are not natural phenomena, existing from time immemorial, but…[are] created  (and like any creation prone to corruption), as well as suggesting possibilities for the very future of Europe (given the continental quest for another identity of non-identity, a sort of neo-Belgicism writ large). The fate of the long sought after pax belgica is by no means a picayune matter, and warrants closer inspection.
V - EIGEN VOLK EERST ?
Contraries of themselves produce contraries, wrote Marsilius of Padua in his treatise Defensor Pacis (1324), therefore from discord, the opposite of tranquility, the worst fruits and disadvantages come upon a civil regime or realm.  Since the creation of the Belgian state, communitarian contrarianism has indeed resulted in continuous discord. To make matters worse, it can even be argued that Belgium’s internal divisions are more widespread than it would first appear. Jean Beaufays rightly notes that
"Wallonia is composed of Walloons, Picards, and Gaumeses. Flanders witnesses the opposition between the inhabitants of the Flemish provinces of West and East Flanders, as well as the population of Antwerp and Limburg. Once the two partners are fenced inside their institutional borders, will we not see these particularities resurface again ?" 
The German-speaking population of Belgium, though not the focus of the historical narrative presented above, represents another complicating factor. It is not surprising, then, that analysts like Kas Deprez and Louis Vos eventually conclude that Belgium should fall apart.  Yet in spite of all of this, there are a number of positive and negative factors that hold the Belgian Kingdom-Federation together, although a number of these themselves constitute ideologically double-edged swords.
History is one such factor. As the French historian Jacques Le Goff posited,
"To make themselves the master of memory and forgetfulness is one of the great preoccupations of the classes, groups and individuals who have dominated and continue to dominate historical societies. The things forgotten or not mentioned by history reveal these mechanisms for the manipulation of collective memory." 
Belgian intellectuals, from time immemorial, have endeavored to master both memory and forgetfulness. Early historians like Etienne-Constantin de Gerlache, Henri-Guillaume Moke, and Theodore Just, in the interest of nation-building, would emphasize Belgium’s Southern Netherlandish roots, while Flemish and Walloon nationalist or sub-nationalist chroniclers would stress ties to French and Dutch hinterlands and highlight communitarian grievances. No effort at twisting Belgium’s complicated history to suit specific goals has been entirely successful, though not for want of effort. (The Belgian monarchy has been keen to join the fray lately, most notably with the opening of the Bellevue Museum in Brussels in 2002 to mark the 175 anniversary of Belgian independence.) The existence of a Southern Netherlandish identity, rooted in deep history, seems undeniable, yet the same can be said for the strongly held and entirely understandable historical grievances dating back to the very birth of the Belgian nation. It is highly unlikely at this point that any educational program could manipulate historical memory in Belgium so as to inculcate a sense of the sort of jingoism on display in Gustaaf Wappers’ history paintings, or the sort of enmity Hendrik Elias or Jules Destrée exhibited when dealing with communitarian rivals. Belgium’s monarchy itself represents another force for both cohesion and dissatisfaction. In 2000 the Socialist Walloon politician Claude Eerdekens hailed his king as the last bulwark against the continuing advance of Flemish imperialism.  If this is the case, the traditional role of the royal family as a uniting force in Belgium is actually seriously compromised. Another important factor in Belgian identity formation, Roman Catholicism, is likewise complicated by historical circumstances and present-day realities. The vicious political battle between Liberals and Catholics in nineteenth and early twentieth century Belgium made the subject of religion practically radioactive, and by the twenty-first century the notion of religiosity as a basis for western European social integrity is almost quaint.
More potent are the negative factors that keep Belgium whole in spite of itself. Sheer inertia should not be discounted ; the mind fairly reels at the enormity of the challenges presented by establishing an independent Wallonia and an independent Flamingia (and the present credit crisis, necessitating bail-out measures for the Belgian-Dutch Fortis, would seem to make such challenges all the greater). Belgium’s centrality in the European political scene creates further incentives for policymakers, if not their constituents, to pursue conciliation rather than schism. The ink-stain of Brussels, situated within Flanders’ putative borders, is another obstacle to separation. Described as the last possible link between both linguistic communities in the federal state,  the Brussels Region is the Belgian nationalist’s perpetual trump card. Since neither Flemings nor Walloons…hold a monopoly position on the Brussels political scene,  and since Wallonia quite rightly would require a burdensome corridor to Brussels in the event of a national break-up, the importance of the capital city for the future of Belgium simply cannot be overstated.
Belgium survived and prospered over the decades after bearing the brunt of two world wars, emerging economically stronger despite deleterious foreign interference. But a kingdom, Aristotle proposed in his Politics, is least of all destroyed from without ; but many kinds of destruction occur from within itself.  There is much within Belgium that creates internal discord : a built-in language barrier, the legacy of Minister Rogier’s anti-Flemish, anti-Orangist campaigns, Flemish susceptibility to German Flamenpolitik, Wallonia’s angst over failing industries, a redistributionist tax policy, and a growing sense of Eigen Volk Eerst (whether with respect to other Belgian communities or immigrants from abroad). Prime Minister Yves Leterme’s July 22, 2007 position paper La force des gens (The Strength of the People) attempted to address these in a roundabout way, insisting on entrepreneurial reinforcement and flourishing industry, strengthening of the social tissue and engagement in Europe,  but solutions to Belgium’s internal discord that do not involve further federalization are few and far between. Marianne Thyssen, an ally of Leterme, has spoken of a pax Belgica durable, yet acknowledges that for the federal Belgian government [o]pposer systématiquement francophones et néerlandophones n’a aucun sens politique (to oppose systematically francophones and netherlandophones has no political sense).  The opposing camps are here to stay, and federal unity-minded policymakers are sure to be hard pressed to contain their ambitions. Further aggravating the situation is the elite adherence to neo-Belgicism, and a palpable distaste in some quarters for nationalistische dwaasheid (nationalistic foolishness). Adherence to Wallonian or Flemish identity is no mere folly, and the neo-Belgicist identity of non-identity will only reinforce such attitudes.
The Belgian independence movement began in earnest when the audience at la Monnaie heard Adolphe Nourrit sing lines like [d]rop the yoke that burdens us and under our blows may the foreigners perish ! By 1917, the Walloon leader Charles Magnette would fret over living under the yoke of the Flemings, not the Austrians, French, Dutch, or Germans. Ninety years later, at the height of the Belgian political crisis, the Flemish pundit Paul Belien would vituperate, Flanders is still being ruled in a non-democratic way, with foreigners imposing their will on the Flemings.  Invocations of the foreigner’s yoke may sound out of place in a post-modern Europe of Kantian democratic peace, but they are far from irrelevant. As early as 1904, the neo-Belgicist (avant la lettre) Léon Hennebicq wrote :
"Have we not been called the laboratory of Europe ? Indeed, we are a nation under construction. The problem of economic expansion is duplicated perfectly here by the problem of constructing a nationality. Two different languages, different classes without cohesion, a parochial mentality, an adherence to local communities that borders on the most harmful egotism, these are all the elements of disunion. Luckily they can be reconciled. The solution is economic expansion, which can make us stronger by uniting us." 
Skeptics may scoff at Hennebicq’s claims ; after all Belgium’s overall economic growth throughout the twentieth century did nothing to ease linguistic tensions. More sympathetic observers will acknowledge that Wallonian economic stagnation played no small part in the up-tick in strife. One and all should acknowledge the profound continental implications of Belgian communitarian chaos. The Neo-Belgicist Piet van de Craen has claimed that Belgian bilingualism necessarily facilitates interaction (especially between groups with a similar cultural background), enhances learning, and enriches one’s life, providing more than enough reasons to encourage and expand the Belgian example within the [European] Union.  In light of recent developments, European Union policymakers might very well prefer to do without the alleged socio-political benefits of Belgian linguistic diversity.
It may be that Camille Huysmanns was correct in stating that [d]ifferences in civilisations are not a sign of poverty…[but] a sign of intellectual wealth ; Belgium’s national motto, L’union fait la force, or in Flemish Eendracht maakt macht (Unity creates strength), may again be suitable ; and one day Belgians may look back on the decades of internal wrangling with thoughts similar to those of Robert Musil, who in Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törleß (The Confusions of Young Törless) (1906) described a situation wherein
"The degradation passed. But something of it lingered forever : that tiny quantity of poison that is needed to rid the soul of its overly calm, complacent health, and instead give it a kind of health that is more refined, acute and understanding." 
More likely, however, is more creeping federalization of formerly central competences, and the continuation of the slow communitarian severance (in other words, the dismal action [that] is being carried out slowly, step by step, with no sudden outbursts that Jules Destrée once deplored). The Panglossian attitude of Belgian national identity builders like Prudens van Duyse, who wrote of each patriotic bosom shouting I remain a Belgian, as the Lord created me, or Charles de Coster, who strove heroically to reconcile French and Flemish belles-lettres, is by now something of a melancholy memory. Yet the neo-Belgicism that replaced hopeful nineteenth century jingoism, bemoaning as it does any nationalistic foolishness, offers little of consequence to the Belgian body politic. Brussels, if nothing else, can continue to serve as the bulwark for what is left of the pax belgica, but one’s own people seem destined to come first.
* Matthew Omolesky, a research assistant at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law in Columbus, Ohio, and recently a researcher-in-residence at the Inštitut za Civilizacijo in Kulturo in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has written on European affairs and international law for publications including the Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy, Democratiya, and The New Times (Kigali, Rwanda). He is presently completing his first book, Striving Towards the Past, a treatment of symbolic and historical politics in contemporary Europe, as well as collaborating on an English-language translation of Charles Nodier’s Balkan-themed novel Jean Sbogar.
 Congress of Local Authorities, Council of Europe, Recommendation 258 (2008), Local democracy in Belgium : non-appointment by the Flemish authorities of three mayors (December 2, 2008).
 EurActiv.com, Council of Europe slams Belgium over linguistic feud (December 3, 2008).
 Charles Dickens, Bleak House (1852-3), Chapter XL, National and Domestic.
 Kas Deprez and Louis Vos, Introduction, in Kas Deprez and Louis Vos (eds.), Nationalism in Belgium. Shifting Identities, 1780-1995, Basingstoke : MacMillan (1998), p. 19.
 Nondum omnium dierum solem occidisse, in Ab Urbe Condita, Book 39.
 Or, in Flemish, the Koninklijke Muntschouwburg (Royal Theater of the Mint), known better as la Monnaie or de Munt.
 Daniel Auber, La Muette de Portici, Act II, Scene II (1828). All internal translations my own unless otherwise noted.
 Christian Berg, The Symbolic Deficit : French Literature in Belgium and 19th Century National Sentiment, in Kas Deprez and Louis Vos (eds.), Nationalism in Belgium. Shifting Identities, 1780-1995, Basingstoke : MacMillan (1998), p. 61.
 Jean Beaufays, Belgium : A Dualist Political System ? Publius, Vol. 18, No. 2, Bicommunal Societies and Polities (Spring, 1988), p. 64.
 Aristide Zolberg, The Making of Flemings and Walloons : Belgium : 1830-1914, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Autumn, 1974), p. 179.
 Nele Bemong, "En Toch, Wat is Eigentlyk het Historieke Roman ?" The Emergence of the Historical Novel as a Distinct Genre in Belgium in the 1830s and 1840s. Sheffield Hallam Working Papers on the Web, Vol. 9 (December 2006), http://extra.shu.ac.uk/wpw/historicising/Bemong.htm.
 Philip Mansel, Prince of Europe : The Life of Charles-Joseph de Ligne, London : Phoenix (2003), p. 9.
 Beaufays (1988), p. 63.
 Neal Ascherson, The King Incorporated : Leopold the Second and the Congo, London : Granta (1999), p. 16.
 Ibid., p. 16-7.
 Mansel (2003), p. 7.
 Geert van den Bossche, Political propaganda in the Brabant Revolution : Habsburg ‘negligence’ versus Belgian nation-building, History of European Ideas, Vol. 28 (2002), pp. 129-30.
 Ibid., p. 133.
 Ibid., p. 132.
 Beaufays (1998), p. 64.
 Jo Tollebeek, Historical Representation and the Nation-State in Romantic Belgium (1830-1850), Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 59, No. 2 (Apr., 1998), p. 335.
 Ibid., p. 334.
 Ibid., pp. 333-4.
 Simon Schama, Patriots and Liberators : Revolution in the Netherlands, 1780-1813, New York : Vintage (1992), p. 5.
 Ibid., p. 6.
 Paul Belien, A Throne in Brussels : Britain, the Saxe-Coburgs, and the Belgianisation of Europe, Exeter : Imprint Academic (2005), p. 37.
 Camille Huysmanns, The Flemish Question, Journal of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Vol. 9, No. 5 (Sep., 1930), p. 683.
 Belien (2005), p. 37.
 Theo Hermans (ed.), The Flemish Movement : A Documentary History (1780-1990), London : The Athlone Press (1992), p. 72.
 Belien (2005), p. 38.
 Ibid., p. 39
 Ibid., pp. 41-2.
 Ibid., p. 42.
 Tollebeek (1998), p. 336.
 Berg (1998), p. 65.
 Tollebeek (1998), p. 338.
 Carl Strikwerda, The Divided Class : Catholics vs. Socialists in Belgium, 1880-1914, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Apr., 1988), p. 335.
 Ascherson (1999), p. 20.
 Vernon Mallinson and Silvain de Coster, Church and State Education in Belgium, Comparative Education Review, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Jun., 1960), p. 43.
 Quoted in Pieter François, Belgium – country of liberals, Protestants and the free : British views on Belgium in the mid nineteenth century, Historical Research, vol. 81, no. 214 (November 2008) p. 675
 Ascherson (1999), p. 21.
 Ibid., p. 139.
 Lieve Gevers, The Catholic Church and the Flemish Movement, in Kas Deprez and Louis Vos (eds.), Nationalism in Belgium. Shifting Identities, 1780-1995, Basingstoke : MacMillan (1998), p. 111.
 Ibid., p. 113.
 Piet Couttenier, National Imagery in 19th Century Flemish Literature, in Kas Deprez and Louis Vos (eds.), Nationalism in Belgium. Shifting Identities, 1780-1995, Basingstoke : MacMillan (1998), p. 56.
 Ibid., p. 57.
 Ibid., p. 60.
 Louis Vos, Reconstruction of the Past in Belgium and Flanders, in Bruno Coppieters and Michel Huysseune (eds.), Secession, History and the Social Sciences, Brussels : VUB Brussels University Press (2002), p. 186.
 Ibid., p. 186.
 Ibid., p. 187.
 Ibid., p. 188.
 Jean Stengers, La déconstruction de l’État-nation : Le cas Belge, Vingtième Siècle, Revue d’histoire, No. 50 (Apr. - Jun., 1996), p. 43.
 It is worth noting that the lion and the cockerel, symbols of the Flemish and Walloon camps respectively, are likewise used in emblems of Holland and France.
 Vos (2002), p. 188.
 Chantal Kesteloot, Growth of the Walloon Movement, in Kas Deprez and Louis Vos (eds.), Nationalism in Belgium. Shifting Identities, 1780-1995, Basingstoke : MacMillan (1998), p. 141.
 Zolberg (1974), p. 179.
 Kesteloot (1998), p. 141.
 Vos (2002), p. 189.
 Ibid., p. 189.
 John Ishiyama and Marijke Breuning, Ethnopolitics in the New Europe, Boulder, CO : Lynne Rienner (1998), pp. 109-115.
 Vos (2002), p. 190.
 Belien (2005), p. 167.
 Ishiyama and Breuning (1998), pp. 109-115.
 Vos (2002), p. 192.
 Huysmanns (1930), p. 690.
 Kesteloot (1998), p. 145.
 Ibid., p. 146.
 William Brustein, The Political Geography of Belgian Fascism : The Case of Rexism, American Sociological Review, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Feb., 1988), p. 73.
 Vos (2002), p. 190.
 Hugo Claus, The Sorrow of Belgium (tr. Arnold Pomerans), London : Penguin (1991), p. 482.
 Oliver Lyttelton, The Memoirs of Lord Chandos, London : The Bodley Head (1962), p. 309.
 Neal Carter, Complexity as a Shock Absorber : the Belgian Social Cube, ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 8 (Summer, 2002), pp. 973-4.
 Belien (2005), p. 271.
 Ibid., p. 274.
 Carter (2002), p. 975.
 Ibid., p. 976.
 Inhabitants of Leeuw - St. Pierre v. Belgium, 8 Yearbook of the European Convention on Human Rights 338, (1965) ; European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950), ETS 5/213, UNTS 222.
 Relating to Certain Aspects of the Laws on the Use of Languages in Education in Belgium (Relative à certains aspects du régime linguistique de l’enseignement en Belgique), 6 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) (1968).
 Ibid., § I.3.
 Ibid., § II.
 Ibid., §II.5.
 Ibid. § II.7.
 Rolf Falter, Belgium’s Peculiar Way to Federalism, in Kas Deprez and Louis Vos (eds.), Nationalism in Belgium. Shifting Identities, 1780-1995, Basingstoke : MacMillan (1998), p. 182.
 Carter (2002), p. 977.
 Ibid., p. 978.
 Falter (1998), p. 184.
 Ibid., p. 185.
 Ibid., p. 189.
 Quoted in Belien (2005), p 289.
 Pieter Saey, Christian Kesteloot, and Christian Vandermotten, Unequal Economic Development at the Origin of the Federalization Process, in Kas Deprez and Louis Vos (eds.), Nationalism in Belgium. Shifting Identities, 1780-1995, Basingstoke : MacMillan (1998), p. 175.
 Ibid., p. 172.
 The Constitution of the Kingdom of the Belgians, Coordinated Text of February 17, 1994 (tr. J.G. Craenen and G.J. Craenen), Leuven : Acco (1994), p. 22.
 Falter (1998), p. 190.
 Carter (2002), p. 980.
 Edwige Lefebvre, The Belgian Constitution of 1831 : The Citizen Burgher, ZERP-Diskussionspapier (March, 1997), p. 26.
 The Constitution of the Kingdom of the Belgians, Coordinated Text of February 17, 1994 (1994), p. 7.
 Eva Brems, Belgium : The Vlaams Blok Political Party Convicted Indirectly of Racism, International Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 4 (October, 2006), p. 703.
 Jos Bouveroux, Nationalism in Present-Day Flanders, in Kas Deprez and Louis Vos (eds.), Nationalism in Belgium. Shifting Identities, 1780-1995, Basingstoke : MacMillan (1998), pp. 212-3.
 Ibid., p. 217.
 Philippe Destatte, Present-Day Wallonia : The Search for an Identity without Nationalist Mania, in Kas Deprez and Louis Vos (eds.), Nationalism in Belgium. Shifting Identities, 1780-1995, Basingstoke : MacMillan (1998), p. 221.
 See Belien (2005), p. 341.
 Ibid., pp. 341-2.
 Brems (2006), p. 703.
 See BBC News, Nine-month crisis over in Belgium (March 18, 2008).
 Paul Van Orshoven, De eed in de kaatsbaan, Knack (August 21, 2007).
 Huysmanns (1930), p. 680.
 Alexandre Adler, La Belgique va-t-elle demander le divorce, Le Figaro (October 14, 2007).
 Angus Reid Global Monitor, French Willing to House Wallonia if Belgium Splits (August 6, 2008).
 RTL Nederland, Enquête : 77% voor fusie met Vlaanderen (August 21, 2007).
 Cited in Angus Reid Global Monitor (2008).
 Henri Astier, Rich Flanders seeks more autonomy, BBC News.com (September 30, 2008).
 EU Business, Belgian mayors row faces Council of Europe vote (December 1, 2008).
 Claus (1991), p. 603.
 Deprez and Vos (1998), p. 18.
 Marsilius of Padua, The Defender of the Peace (tr. Annabel Brett), Cambridge : Cambridge University Press (2005), p. 4.
 Beaufays (1998), p. 73.
 Deprez and Vos (1998), p. 19.
 Quoted in Philip Mosley, Anxiety, Memory, and Place in Belgian Cinema Yale French Studies, No. 102, Belgian Memories (2002), p. 161.
 Belien (2005), p. 342.
 Serge Govaert, A Brussels Identity ? A Speculative Interpretation, in Kas Deprez and Louis Vos (eds.), Nationalism in Belgium. Shifting Identities, 1780-1995, Basingstoke : MacMillan (1998), p. 238.
 Quoted in Marsilius of Padua (2005), p. 62.
 Yves Leterme, La force des gens : Ensemble, transformons les défis en opportunités (July 22, 3007), available at http://www.udep-antwerpen.be/ExterneBestanden/ Note%20du%20formateur%20Yves%20Leterme%201.pdf.
 Damien Gérard, Pour une ‘pax belgica’ durable, La Libre (March 9, 2008).
 Paul Belien, King Summons Unelected Councillors [sic] to Solve Crisis ; Will France Annex Wallonia ? The Brussels Journal (August 28, 2007).
 Quoted in Belien (2005), p. viii.
 Piet van de Craen, What If Anything Is a Belgian ? Yale French Studies, No. 102, Belgian Memories (2002), p. 32.
 Robert Musil, The Confusions of Young Törless (tr. Shaun Whiteside), London : Penguin (2001), p. 128.