Persistent Nonviolent Conflict with No Reconciliation: The Flemish and Walloons in Belgium
University of Leuven, Faculty of Law, Department of Private Law; Harvard Law School; University of Leuven, Faculty of Psychology; Tilburg Law School Department of Private Law and TISCO; Catholic University of Portugal (UCP) - Católica Global School of Law; University of Brussels (VUB/ULB) ; Greenille (Attorneys, Notaries and Tax Advisors; Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Rotterdam)
Robert H. Mnookin
Harvard Law School
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: K10Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 29, 2011
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