Persistent Nonviolent Conflict with No Reconciliation: The Flemish and Walloons in Belgium
Alain Laurent P. G. Verbeke
University of Leuven, Director Rector Roger Dillemans Family Property Law Institute, Codirector Institute for Contract Law, Codirector Leuven Center for Notary Law; Harvard Law School; University of Leuven, Faculty of Psychology; Antwerp Management School; Tilburg Law School Department of Private Law and TISCO; Catholic University of Portugal (UCP) - Católica Global School of Law; Greenille by Laga
Robert H. Mnookin
Harvard Law School; Program on Negotiation
September 30, 2009
Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 72, No. 2, 2009
The conflict between Dutch speaking Flemish and the Francophones in Belgium has a long history. It is explained by a marriage methaphor, where the couple is at the verge of a separation or breakdown. The paper first analyses the background of this intense conflict. Then the focus is, given the divided society of today, on the key issues of the conflict: language and autonomy, minority vs. majority, Brussels, economical differences, and money transfers. Based on all these differences, the question is raised what glue still holds Belgium society together. Besides Brussels, a pacifist tradition and national elite, surprisingly Europe also seems a factor of unity.The paper concludes with some speculations on future evolution and lessons learned from a conflict llike this that remains, despite its intensity, nonviolent.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39
Keywords: Conflict Management, Belgium, Flemish and Walloons, Federal Systems
JEL Classification: K10
Date posted: January 29, 2011
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