Current Affairs Politics

Belgium, A State But Not A Nation

Some time ago I carried out a whirlwind round-up of news relating to the political fortunes of progressive nationalist movements in Europe and North America, from the Basque Country to Québec. I retuned to Québec this week and looked at the possible lessons for our own divided province of nine-county Ulster. But my original round-trip began with Belgium, and it is to Belgium that I return after the country marked its anniversary last week of 450 days without a national government.

Euronews carries a report on the event, as well as the possibility of the political stalemate being brought to an end. However some commentators believe a more likely scenario is a new general election and a surge in support for Flemish nationalist parties which could hasten the break-up of the dysfunctional kingdom-cum-federation.

All of which of course has some very real consequences not just for Belgium but for the European Union as a whole, and the independence project of the SNP in Scotland. If Flanders can successfully negotiate a transition to independence within the EU then Scotland will surely have a template to follow which can only bolster its demands for an orderly breakup of the UK state.

The political fortunes of Belgium, like Québec, Catalonia and the Basque Country, is something to keep an eye on for all progressive nationalists.

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