Belgium: on the brink

As the interim PM resigns, the King cuts short his holiday, and the markets press for stability.  What next?

It would be laughable if it weren't so tragic, but Yves Leterme, caretaker PM for the past fifteen months has shot off to Paris to take a job at the OECD. ‘Bye-bye Belgium’ ran a headline in English in a Belgian paper (so as not to offend Flemings or Walloons?)

The markets and ratings agencies demand action to stem debt levels and enact structural reform. They've had neither.

Would it not now be wise for the productive Flemings of the West and North to break away and form their own country?  Brussels is the sticking point, not only as EU capital, but as capital of both Flanders and all Belgium. But for King Albert II to return prematurely from vacation in France it seems things have come to a head.

All moves slowly in Belgium, it appears, as no government with a mandate could be formed. Government broker and francophone Socialist Party leader Elio Di Rupo claimed in a statement that the future of the country was at state as parties failed to agree on electoral boundaries in Brussels.

Three languages, at least two agendas, no national pride and no gift for compromise. What a combination!  Better the place breaks up, so the halves can pursue separate paths to rectify their failings. No wonder the King's concerned, what happens to his post?

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