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Thread: Speech by King of the Belgians Upsets some Flemish

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    Politics.ie Member blokesbloke's Avatar
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    Default Speech by King of the Belgians Upsets some Flemish

    I've always found Belgium's on-going seperatism issue quite interesting.

    It is often said that Belgium has very little to unify it as a country.

    One of the few unifying things is their royal family.

    The King has given a speech which some Flemish politicians seem to have interpreted as a dig against them...

    BBC News - Belgium King Albert II Christmas speech sparks controversy

    I am not quite sure if this is correct - they may well be being over-sensitive.

    However having said that, I do think their current monarch, King Albert II, has never done very much for the cause of national unity as he can basically only speak French - his Flemish/Dutch is very poor.

    Since he is a largely ceremonial monarch, like all European monarchs, and therefore has very few really crucial official roles to fill. Given that he'll have had the very best educational opportunities, I am surprised he wasn't taught Flemish at a young age - and preferably German too for the German-speaking minority of his country.

    He couldn't control that - but as an adult he could. I feel he wants to be a unifying force for the country but that can never happen when he only speaks one of the two main languages spoken there.

    Given that, even if the Flemish politicians are being over-sensitive, perhaps the King has only himself to blame - if he can't be bothered to learn the language of half his subjects, is it surprising they sometimes misinterpret what he says, partly because of the attitude to them his failure to trouble himself learning it reveals, and possibly even purely linguistically, as what he says in French could lose some subtle meanings when translated in Flemish - particularly if translated by those with an agenda.

    If he could speak Flemish himself, he would avoid this issue as he could speak to half his country directly in his their own language.

    What do other users feel about this particular situation and the wider Belgian seperation issue? What does the future for Belgium hold?
    Brexit? Never heard of it mate...

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    Quote Originally Posted by blokesbloke View Post
    I've always found Belgium's on-going seperatism issue quite interesting.

    It is often said that Belgium has very little to unify it as a country.

    One of the few unifying things is their royal family.

    The King has given a speech which some Flemish politicians seem to have interpreted as a dig against them...

    BBC News - Belgium King Albert II Christmas speech sparks controversy

    I am not quite sure if this is correct - they may well be being over-sensitive.

    However having said that, I do think their current monarch, King Albert II, has never done very much for the cause of national unity as he can basically only speak French - his Flemish/Dutch is very poor.

    Since he is a largely ceremonial monarch, like all European monarchs, and therefore has very few really crucial official roles to fill. Given that he'll have had the very best educational opportunities, I am surprised he wasn't taught Flemish at a young age - and preferably German too for the German-speaking minority of his country.

    He couldn't control that - but as an adult he could. I feel he wants to be a unifying force for the country but that can never happen when he only speaks one of the two main languages spoken there.

    Given that, even if the Flemish politicians are being over-sensitive, perhaps the King has only himself to blame - if he can't be bothered to learn the language of half his subjects, is it surprising they sometimes misinterpret what he says, partly because of the attitude to them his failure to trouble himself learning it reveals, and possibly even purely linguistically, as what he says in French could lose some subtle meanings when translated in Flemish - particularly if translated by those with an agenda.

    If he could speak Flemish himself, he would avoid this issue as he could speak to half his country directly in his their own language.

    What do other users feel about this particular situation and the wider Belgian seperation issue? What does the future for Belgium hold?
    First of all my Dutch is not perfect but as it's almost the same as Flemish I had to look at the original speech.
    Veel kritiek op koning BelgiŽ na waarschuwing voor populisme :: nrc.nl
    I see where it might sound controversial but might be just harmless.

    He might just be reminding people not to forget the 30s
    " De crisis van de jaren dertig en de populistische reacties die ze teweegbracht mogen niet worden vergeten"
    It's weird in the contents of a xmas speech alright.

    There's a joke that says that Belgium is just a road between France and the Netherlands.
    BTW, I didn't know he's not fluent Flemish, when I've lived in the Netherlands at least I've bothered learning the language.
    goedenavond, AIESCD.
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    Politics.ie Member Twin Towers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AIESCD View Post
    " De crisis van de jaren dertig en de populistische reacties die ze teweegbracht mogen niet worden vergeten"
    What's wrong with populism anyway?

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    Methinks the King is worried about the throne. He should do like our one and threaten to abolish something or other.
    Heaven and Earth Meet in the Human Heart!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Twin Towers View Post
    What's wrong with populism anyway?
    Who knows, maybe in the 30s it was common practice (Unlike nowadays)
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    Politics.ie Member Analyzer's Avatar
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    The way I see it, Belgium is heading for a divorce.

    When it happens it will make the divorce of the former Czechoslovakia look calm and courteous. Because in that instance they reach a mutual agreement to form two seperate countries, but decided to still get along afterwards. They Czechs and the Slovaks have not resorted towards insulting each other. Or even arguing about money - but then even the former Czechoslovakia was never as financially leveraged as Belgium. They agreed everything on the basis of mutual consent.

    In Belgium, there will be a massive fight over money. Currently Wallonia is a big net receiver and Flanders is a perennial contributor to the Belgian state. The state debt is massive. The current crisis has forced both sides to think very carefully about the issue of breaking up, in the context of borrowing costs afterwards.
    Last edited by Analyzer; 27th December 2012 at 10:58 PM.
    Coveney's ambition is the be Ireland's next EU Commissar and Ireland will pay a price as he builds his CV to position himself sufficiently loyal to the nEU empire.

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    I wonder what Gerard Depardieu, Wallonia's newest resident would say on this matter ?
    Coveney's ambition is the be Ireland's next EU Commissar and Ireland will pay a price as he builds his CV to position himself sufficiently loyal to the nEU empire.

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    This endless bickering is getting boring. Why can't they just agree to separate? The Czechs and Slovaks are moving along nicely with their lives.

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    Politics.ie Member drummed's Avatar
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    Belguim won't be breaking up any time soon.
    Сохранить Украины

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iphonista View Post
    This endless bickering is getting boring. Why can't they just agree to separate? The Czechs and Slovaks are moving along nicely with their lives.
    Money money money. The french speaking portion is dependent on the Flemish portion to subsidise them. Who will pay the enormous national debt? The Flemish will say it was mainly run up to keep the Wallonians going, the Wallonians can't pay it. Standoff.
    I ain't gettin' on no plane

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