Friday 7 January 2011

Brussels E.C?

As Arthur Beesley tells us in the Irish Times about the country which still a few days ago had a driving role in the process of European integration, ”Belgian political stalemate continues as Flemish parties reject compromise”:

THE TWO largest Dutch-speaking parties in Belgium have rejected new compromise proposals to broker a power-sharing deal with their French-speaking counterparts, prolonging a political saga that has left the country in the control of a caretaker government for 208 days.

Little by little I start wondering if the European Union should acquire Brussels with surroundings and make it the European Capital (E.C.), administered as an EU territory with 23 official languages.

The non-discussions between the linguistic communities and regions of Belgium could then be limited to the rest of the country and the ”negotiations” could continue until the state falls apart from exhaustion.

Le Taurillon

Even on a more serious note, these questions are now more widely discussed. There are three recent articles worth mentioning, with viewpoints on both Belgium and Europe, in the eurozine Le Taurillon. The writers discuss Belgian as well as European aspects:

Marine Cornelis: Les difficultés gouvernementales en Belgique, quelles leçons pour l'Europe (4 January 2011)

Quel rôle pour l'UE en cas de scission de la Belgique ? 1/2

Quel rôle pour l'UE en cas de scission de la Belgique ? 2/2

Johan Vande Lanotte

The Wikipedia article ”2010-2011 Belgian government formation” follows the (non)events on the ground until two Flemish parties rejected the mediation proposal by Johan Vande Lanotte, who did not publish the proposal, so we do not know by how much the federal state would be further hollowed out even by the failed proposal.


Bloomberg offers a picture of the background as well as of the economic fallout of the rejected proposal: Belgium's Leaders seek To Exit From Political Impasse as Bond Spreads Widen (7 January 2011)

Long term we can ask if it is possible or even reasonable to keep a couple together if one of the partners has decided to split.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Strasbourg Observers is the legal blog team of five researchers led by Professor Eva Brems at the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University. Events these last days have shown why human and fundamental rights need constant strengthening in Europe. Here is the mission statement: Blog commenting on developments in the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.


  1. Might be a good idea but I believe it only when I see it. On the other hands Brussels really isn't that pretty and probably has its own share of issues, so not sure if the EU wants to get into that.

  2. step21,

    As we saw, reaching agreement on more mundane things, such as a political government in Belgium following elections, have proved hard enough.

    But why should it prevent us from discussing if the European Union needs a real capital and where it should be if not Brussels?


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