Government Crisis: Will no-one shed a tear for Belgium?

20 January 2011 – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Frankfurt)

A country that doesn’t exist any more doesn’t need a government any more either. Is the Belgian political crisis a portent of the shape of things to come in Europe? asks the FAZ.

For over 200 days now Belgium’s politicians have been trying in vain to put together a new government. Can the country do without a central authority? Amid the ongoing euro crisis, can Europe easily ride out a power vacuum in Brussels of all places? Or will the monarchy valiantly leap into the breach? Actually, none of the above.

Even the wiliest negotiators around can’t seem to come up with a mutually acceptable compromise anymore to unravel the old Gordion’s knot of power-sharing between the central government and the Flemish and Wallonian parts of the country. The situation has reached a total impasse. Not only experts in constitutional law, but even hardened Belgian citizens are asking what elections are held for in the first place if those elected can’t even form a functional administration.

Embittered Belgians relish the prospect of two new nations

Translated from the German by Eric Rosencrantz

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