Magazine article New Internationalist

Seriously.(TM) True Tales of a Mixed-Up World Belgian Blues

Magazine article New Internationalist

Seriously.(TM) True Tales of a Mixed-Up World Belgian Blues

Article excerpt

Belgium rarely makes it into world news, and is often stereotyped as being, well, rather dull. Belgian politics certainly elicits a gaping yawn from most observers in and out of the country. In fact, it would seem the whole government is so bored, they haven't had one for more than six months. Ironically, the communists and other labour activists have been taking to the streets, not to bring down the government - but to demand one.

The country is in the throes of a long political and existential crisis as the Flemish and French-speaking populations fail to agree on pretty much anything except how good the beer is. The man who was expected to be the next Prime Minister after the June elections -Yves Leterme, head of the Flemish Christian Democrats - was derided for singing the French national anthem when asked to sing the Belgian one on Belgium's national day. Having failed to make it as Prime Minister, he's since been a sensation on YouTube.

Belgian people are desperately seeking a way out of the impasse. Some suggest the government could be a job-share with Luxembourg. …

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