Persistent Nonviolent Conflict with No Reconciliation: The Flemish and Walloons in Belgium

39 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2011

See all articles by Alain Laurent Verbeke

Alain Laurent Verbeke

KU Leuven - Faculty of Law; Harvard Law School; KU Leuven - Faculty of Psychology; Tilburg Law School; Catholic University of Portugal (UCP) - Católica Global School of Law; Greenille Private Client Team @ Deloitte Legal - Lawyers

Robert H. Mnookin

Harvard Law School; Program on Negotiation

Date Written: September 30, 2009

Abstract

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

Verbeke, Alain Laurent P. G. and Mnookin, Robert H., Persistent Nonviolent Conflict with No Reconciliation: The Flemish and Walloons in Belgium (September 30, 2009). Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 72, No. 2, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1750752

Alain Laurent P. G. Verbeke (Contact Author)

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