Thursday, September 07, 2006

Exit Brussels

As I spend my last 24 hours in Brussels, the BBC's Mark Mardell, comments in his European Diary (about halfway down) on the fate of Brussels in the face of Flemish nationalism. If Belgium, as secessionists demand, was divided into two EU member states, what on Earth would one do with Brussels itself? Technically it's in Flanders, but it's predominantly Francophone, and is defined not so much by the state to which it is capital as by the international institutions it houses. Mardell cites a recent report by a Flemish nationalist thinktank that recommends the city be jointly administered by both successor states and the EU itself. But would this work? Could Brussels handle that much more bureaucracy? And what would one do with Nato, left out in the cold in the new dispensation? But then, if such an arrangement worked anywhere it would be here, where Belgian national identity is burried almost entirely underneath international institutionalisation.

This will be my last entry from Brussels. Thanks again to all the folks who shared it with me. Best of luck in the future.
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