Blogging over at Foreign Policy, Joshua Keating worries that the collapse of Belgium would be a bad thing. Belgium, he writes was “supposed to be what the European Union was all about—an attempt to move past the cultural and linguistic differences that had caused the continent centuries of bloodshed and create a new pan-European identity based on economic cooperation and political compromise,” a sentence that, I fear, over-simplifies the EU and misunderstands Belgium, an artificial entity defined by inter-communal tension and spoils-systems politics.
For a more realistic view of what Belgium is, this comment (on England Expects) is as telling as any:
There is an online petition site calling for Belgian unity with stickers and posters up all over Brussels, the glory of it is that all the slogans are in English as they wouldn’t dare put them in either of the big national languages.
It’s time to end this farce.