Persistent Nonviolent Conflict with No Reconciliation: The Flemish and Walloons in Belgium
39 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2011
Date Written: September 30, 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.
Keywords: Conflict Management, Belgium, Flemish and Walloons, Federal Systems
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation