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  #101  
Old 07-16-2008, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by LadyLeana View Post
yep, it was the first time. He even consulted them before he consulted the leaders of the political parties (which he is doing today). ...
This move just indicates that Albert works hard to rescue Leterme imo. For the third time btw, I hope Leterme gets it now and his own party finally follows him. Involving the regions into the state reform talks was actually Leterme´s last and not unrealistic idea to get the state reform talks on track right before the big bang. And it was his own party urged on by alliance partner N-VA which killed this idea. Perhaps this crisis has a catharsis effect and the persons involved get real…finally. And don´t get me started on Bart De Wever and Geert Bourgeois (N-VA).

As for the deadline – would have been better Milquet hadn´t opened her mouth. But in the end her deadline isn´t completely out of the world. Albert can´t delay the decision about Leterme´s future till doomsday. And what a depressing and morbid National Day it would be if there wasn´t at least a hint how to get out of this mess. I´m sure Albert isn´t keen on delivering his National Day speech without “good” news for his fellow citizens. And the National Day speech will be aired on July 20th. Albert “just” has to find a scenario to cool down the situation and get the stubborn politicians back to the negotiating table – without silly deadlines for a change.
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Btw it always worth to take a look at deredactie.be - English,
this page even offers newsclips on the crisis in English and is really up to date most of the time.
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  #102  
Old 07-16-2008, 09:06 PM
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I haven't been in Belgium much, nor have I kept up to date very much with the recent political crises there, but what I'm wondering is this: if the country was founded largely on the basis of religion (Catholic) is this no longer considered a sufficient unifying factor? So does language alone become the sole factor in how people feel about the existence of the state? On the other hand, if religion continues to be a consideration in many people's views, then how can the Flemish want to be with the low church Calvinists next door in Holland? Someone mentioned in this thread that a large percentage of French would be open to receiving Wallonia as a province of France, but on the other hand - isn't this very much going to be seen by many Walloons as an opportunistic attitude by the French? They're surely very well aware that many French look down on the Belgians as their very poor country cousins. I mean, all those jokes about "les Belges". People remember those things even in a crisis.
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  #103  
Old 07-17-2008, 09:06 AM
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Actually, people aren't as religious as they used to be in Belgium, so no, I don't think religion alone is enough to keep the country together.
As for a union between Flanders and the Netherlands, it is an idea which is much more alive in the Netherlands itself than it is in Flanders. If Belgium were to split, I'm quite sure Flanders would rather try to survive on its own than to become part of the Netherlands. (Nothing personal Marengo)

The King has consulted the vice-PM's and the social partners (union leaders etc) today.
Whether or not the King will accept Leterme's resignation is still unknown.
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  #104  
Old 07-17-2008, 09:11 AM
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Oh, here nobody takes it serious either LadyLeana, everybody is well aware that the Flemish utterly dislike us. Just the populist right toys with the idea, ignoring all the added problems such an unlikely union would bring.
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  #105  
Old 07-17-2008, 09:21 AM
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I just remembered it from something they said on the news somewhere back in spring.

PS: we don't dislike you guys, it just seems like that. In reality we're just jealous of your beautiful bicycle paths and the roads without holes in them and that sort of thing...
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  #106  
Old 07-17-2008, 09:33 AM
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Likewise we are jealous of your healthcare system and educational system ... come to think of it, such a merger could have its advantages .

--
Anyway, from Flandersnews.be an article about 'Madame Non' setting the deadline for July 21st (my brithday, and coincidently also Belgiums ):

Quote:
"Madame Non" sets deadline for King Albert
(VRT)
Thu 17/07/08 12:00 - King Albert on Thursday continued to take soundings in an effort to find a way out of the political crisis that has Belgium in its grip. On Wednesday the monarch spoke with a selection of party leaders. On Thursday employers and union representatives have a date at Laken Palace.



The leader of the Francophone Christian democrats, Joëlle Milquet, on Wednesday insisted that a solution should be found by 21 July, Belgium's National Holiday. Flemish Christian democrats see no point in setting a new deadline.
Read the entire article here.

The King is busy receiving politicians, some pictures:

The King and vice PM Patrick Dewael

The King and Laurette Onkelinx

The King and Jean-Marie Dedecker
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  #107  
Old 07-17-2008, 10:53 AM
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If Flanders goes on its own, would they keep the monarchy? Or would a division of the country bring an end to the monarchy?
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  #108  
Old 07-17-2008, 01:27 PM
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Wondering the same.
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  #109  
Old 07-17-2008, 02:13 PM
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Question Confused American girl here

So every time there's an election a new Government is formed? or as PMs change it's considered a new Government? Perhaps it's just the word usage here but I don't understand forming a new Government every few years. Is it that a new administration is set up with new divisions of power? For example, in the US we have elections every four years for President and every two years there are congressional elections that help shift which of our parties are the most prominent. We don't call that forming a new government however but I'm wondering if that is a similar situation.

I do hope everything settles down soon for you all, it's enough stress when anything political raises up for any country. I can't wait for our election in November for things to settle down. All the campaigning and nit-picking for the past few months is getting old but still the price we pay for having a representative republic. There are days I wouldn't mind a constitutional monarchy but every system has pluses and minuses.
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  #110  
Old 07-17-2008, 03:57 PM
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Having a constitutional monarchy does not mean that there are no elections.

On the contrary, in the Netherlands for instance we have elections for the National Parliament every four years. And also elections for the Provincial States, the City Council and the European Parliament. And all with there own campaign and election day.

Every four years when a new parliament is chosen a new group of ministers form a new government. If all goes well that government can do his job for the whole four years, but the parliament can "send them home" or they can give in there resignation as they think that they cannot do there job anymore. In Belgium it is similar.
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  #111  
Old 07-17-2008, 08:29 PM
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King Albert has taken a decision tonight:

1. He appointed three mediators
Francois-Xavier de Donnea, Minister of State, former mayor of Brussels and member of the francophone liberals (MR)
Raymond Langendries, member of the francophone Christian Democrats (CDh), Minister of State, Member of the European Parliament
and Karl-Heinz Lambertz, Social democrat and Minister President of the German-speaking community.
King Albert asked them to find out how the institutional dialogue can be re-started in a credible manner. They accepted the mission and will report at the end of the month.

2. King Albert received Prime Minister Yves Leterme in audience at Belvedère Castle this evening. The King refused to accept the resignation of Yves Leterme and his government and asked the government to promote the chances of success of this mission as much as possible.

__________

Somehow a surprising move and this decision is taken faster than most commentators assumed - so Albert has something more or less concrete to tell in his National Day Speech (which will be recorded tomorrow it seems) . All in all it´s a move to gain time (with uncertain outcome imo) and to enable the government to continue its work for a while, especially on the socio-economic sector. The decision is taken in close cooperation with Yves Leterme it seems. Not to appoint a Flemish politician as mediator is a remarkable step somehow. This meets the demands of the Flemish parties, which asked for an initiative of the francophone camp.

Mediator Karl-Heinz Lambertz (a surprising choice) already commented on his appointment. He says it´s an acknowledgement of the German speaking community in Belgium and he will do his best to complete his mission successfully.

BBC NEWS | Europe | Belgian PM's resignation rejected
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  #112  
Old 07-17-2008, 08:40 PM
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Apart from all this confusion and because of it, don't all Belgians feel reassured to have an experienced hard working King who tries his best to circle the wagons? Can you imagine a crisis like this being handled by a younger, less matured person?
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  #113  
Old 07-17-2008, 09:47 PM
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I hope now that everything will work out for the govt. It seems to me that King Albert is working very hard to try to make things work. A person who couldn't handle the stress would just throw their hands up and give up. Not King Albert. I just hope that the monarchy reigns for a long time and the Flanders and Wallionians can try to get along.
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  #114  
Old 07-18-2008, 06:51 AM
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Ah, that means the king has to interact with Francois-Xavier de Donnéa frequently? That might be rather emberrasing for the two of them, though I suppose they have gotten used to it by now.

I agree Karin, it all seems to e to get a bit more time, and maybe the entire resignation was something to show the Walloons how serious Leterme just was and that it is their turn to make at least some comprimises.

Odette, I think the king is in a difficult position, as he is obviously the spider keeping the country together at the moment, so to speak, his position is tricky and he has to move very carefully. Last time he got the complaints that he interfered too much with politics for example.
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  #115  
Old 07-18-2008, 07:19 AM
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Marengo it must be a difficult time for the Royal Family. If one assumes that they are a "symbol" for all the citizens and above politics, I can understand those who may be getting upset about the King's involvement. Then again if he was vacationing in the South of France and letting the politicos settle this, he would be criticised even more. One wonders sometimes how much is more than enough.
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  #116  
Old 07-18-2008, 10:03 AM
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I read a Norwegian article, quoting Le Soir, saying that the King's actions (denying Leferme his resignation/having the talks) was probably one of the few things holding Belgium together at this point.
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  #117  
Old 07-18-2008, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Marengo View Post
Ah, that means the king has to interact with Francois-Xavier de Donnéa frequently? That might be rather emberrasing for the two of them, though I suppose they have gotten used to it by now.
LOL, Donnea was awarded with the Order of Leopold for this little embarrassment - by Albert. And the whole family survived Philippe and Mathilde´s civil wedding, I think this was unbeatable when it comes to embarrassment.
The three of them appear to get along well though and there doesn´t seem to be tension between them, otherwise Donnea would not have been appointed imo.
Picture details

However, Donnea wasn´t Albert´s first choice. According to “De Standaard” only Lambertz made it on the first list. Alas, several suggestions of the court have been refused by various top politicians, so they ended up with these three persons who aren´t exactly heavyweights (influence wise). But especially Lambertz is eager to distinguish himself and the German community. And since he wasn´t involved in federal politics so far he has a somehow neutral view on the situation. So perhaps they really come up with a more or less creative solution to restart the institutional talks. Hope dies last. And Albert sure is relieved to be out of the eye of the storm for a few day.
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  #118  
Old 07-18-2008, 01:16 PM
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I know nothing about the Belgian contitution, but I wonder if it's like many constitutional monarchies in that the king has royal perogatives that are rarely used but are available in times of crisis. Of course, no matter what decision a monarch makes under these circumstances, those who disagree with the decision will label it as "too political."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Odette View Post
Marengo it must be a difficult time for the Royal Family. If one assumes that they are a "symbol" for all the citizens and above politics, I can understand those who may be getting upset about the King's involvement. Then again if he was vacationing in the South of France and letting the politicos settle this, he would be criticised even more. One wonders sometimes how much is more than enough.
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  #119  
Old 07-19-2008, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Harold View Post
If Flanders goes on its own, would they keep the monarchy? Or would a division of the country bring an end to the monarchy?
I can't imagine Flanders keeping a monarchy after such a split. Wallonia maybe, though it isn't very logical to start a new state with an outdated institution like that.

Note that Belgium will probably not break up any time soon, IF that ever happens it will take several decades at least. For the near future a move to (even) more federalism is very plausable of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by norwegianne
I read a Norwegian article, quoting Le Soir, saying that the King's actions (denying Leferme his resignation/having the talks) was probably one of the few things holding Belgium together at this point.
It is often said that the King is the only Belgian. Not true of course but the king is usually seen as the most Belgian symbol that exists. There should be more things keeping the country together of course, if all politicians/population wanted to split the country would do so, dispite the king.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johann
Donnea was awarded with the Order of Leopold for this little embarrassment
Aah, so if that is what get's you a Leopold I wonder... Did Amamo ever get one? For those who do not understand what we are talking about: Donnea was supposed to be one of the lovers of princess Paola.

---------------------------------------------------------

SOme additional news in English from Flandersnews.be:

Quote:
King rejects government's resignation
Fri 18/07/08 16:18 (UPDATE video) - King Albert II of the Belgians has rejected the government's resignation. The king wants Yves Leterme to stay on as Prime Minister for the time being. In the mean time, three senior politicians have two weeks to see how Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia can begin a "credible" dialogue about more regional autonomy.



The three senior politicians who have the difficult task to find a way out of he present political crisis, are two Ministers of State, Raymond Langendries (Francophone christian democrat) and François-Xavier de Donnea (Francophone liberal), and also Karl-Heinz Lambertz, a German-speaking socialist. Mr Lambertz (small photo below) is the Prime Minister of the tiny German-speaking Community in Belgium (photo on top: Lambertz/de Donnea/Langendries).
Read the entire article here.

-------------

Quote:
'The ball is now in the Francophone court"

Fri 18/07/08 12:32 - The king's decision to refuse the government's resignation and to appoint three senior politicians who have to prepare the way for direct talks between the different language communities, has triggered a number of reactions.



The Flemish christian democrats of PM Yves Leterme are happy with the king's decision.


CD&V chairwoman Marianne Thyssen points to the fact that the three negotiators include two French-speaking politicians. Let them come up with a solution now, Ms Thyssen says. "The ball is now in the Francophone court."

The alliance between CD&V and the Flemish nationalists of N-VA also wants "rock-hard" guarantees that a state reform will eventually be worked out.

"The three mediators have been given two weeks to come up with something. That means a decision can be expected in the short term, and that the issue won't be delayed for too long."

Geert Bourgeois of N-VA urges the Francophone players to take some initiative: "It's time for action."
Read the entire article here.
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  #120  
Old 07-19-2008, 07:00 AM
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GVA had a rather funny poll, for those who read dutch, look here. In the internetpoll 1/3 was in favour of a union with the Netherlands.

Now something remarkable: some respondants suggested that a Dutch princess and a Belgian prince should marry; their eldest child could be the ruler of the new country... As a capital even the very unremarkable Baarle-Hertog was suggested (A Belgian enclave in The Netherlands). And the countries name could be Vlaanderland or Nedervlaanderen...
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