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[icon] I thought this was a joke - Patti
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Subject:I thought this was a joke
Time:11:27 am
I looked at SFGate today, saw the headline Belgium government collapses, and thought for a moment I was reading the Onion. But no... the government of Belgium seems to have collapsed.

WTF?
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timprov
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-15 06:43 pm (UTC)
"Government" in Europe usually means what we would call the "administration." Not quite sure if this is a bigger deal than that, from the article, though.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-15 06:49 pm (UTC)
I'm not exactly imagining groups of Flemish-, French-, and Dutch-speaking soldiers attacking each other with muskets.
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timprov
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-15 06:52 pm (UTC)
Right, but this is just the cabinet going boom, and not the entire bureaucracy. It's not like a US government shutdown, it usually just means they have to elect another Prime Minister and install a new Cabinet. It seems to happen rather a lot in parliamentary systems.
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wild_irises
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-15 06:50 pm (UTC)
abostick59 was watching this in April, but if he hadn't mentioned it, I'd be as croggled as you are.
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cork_dork
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-15 06:59 pm (UTC)
They say it's due to the schism between French and Flemish speakers.

Me, I'll say it's due to InBev buying Anheuser-Busch.
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gunga_galunga
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-15 08:17 pm (UTC)
Heh. You stole my line.
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abostick59
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-15 09:14 pm (UTC)
Like Iraq or Yugoslavia, Belgium is a multinational state whose identity and borders were imposed upon it from outside by the rulers of foreign powers. The internal consensus that held together was never strong, and that consensus has broken down pretty much completely over the past few years.

The current crisis transcends the failure of government that often takes place in a parliamentary democracy (look for example at Italy). This is more on a par with the breakup of Yugoslavia, although hopefully nowhere near as violent.

It's a vexing situation: there seems to be no good way of drawing lines for an orderly breakup that does not leave minority populations out in the cold. This has the potential for getting even uglier than it is now.
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(Deleted comment)

gunga_galunga
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-16 12:53 am (UTC)
Well, isn't all of Europe tending towards just being states in the EU?
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wordweaverlynn
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-16 12:15 am (UTC)
Masterly explication of the mess in -- Flanders and Wallonia, I guess. May as well go back to the old names.
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[icon] I thought this was a joke - Patti
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