Europe, at the moment, is united only by a coin (not even for all countries), but it's beginning to have many problems within its member states. The latest example comes from the election results in Belgium. King Albert II started consultations after the polls have declared the victory of the Flemish separatists.
The first effect
of these results was a strong agitation in the financial markets,
scared that the political debate in the country will move on national
identity, putting on a side the restoration of public debt.
In reality, the election results were not a great news, because days before the vote the hypothesis of a strong growth of the right party was on all the newspapers. But today it is a certainty. The party New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), led by Bart De Wever, 39, is the first party in the northern region of Flanders, where Dutch is spoken, and it's the first party in the country.
The success of the Flemish Independence Party has highlighted the difficulties of cohabitation between the north and south of the country. The desire to assert their identity and their differences is not so far from the policy of the Northern League in Italy. So the symbol of European Union, Belgium, and especially the city of Brussels, became instead the symbol of the great divisions within the states.
The N-Va party is not the only one to take home a great result. De Wever won in Flanders, but in the south was the Walloon-Italian Socialist, Elio Di Rupo, to obtain 35% of the vote. So if the party of Bart De Wever is the first separatist party to obtain such a large number of votes, Di Rupo may instead become the first Belgian Socialist Prime Minister since 1974, the first of Italian descent and the first homosexual.
The only requirement, now, is to act quickly to form a new government. More than the risk of separation (however advanced by many newspapers) the real problem is the long coalition negotiations. Time that Belgium cannot afford because it will have presidency of the European Union in the semester that begins July 1st. And then there is the debt ratio which is likely to exceed 100% this year or in 2011 and the new government should solve this problem.
King Albert II has started the election procedures, receiving the outgoing Prime Minister, Yves Leterme, and accepting the resignation of his government. And he will probably entrust the job of prime minister to the PS leader Elio di Rupo: the first time a Dutch and a descendant of immigrants will have this role.
At the moment the only certain data is the reform of the federal state, a point that De Wever has no intention to yield.
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