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Belgium should be split up – here’s how, says Flemish leader

Separatist leader Tom Van Grieken says he wants to see Belgium dissolved and a new Flemish state set up within five years of this year's elections


Tom Van Grieken, President of the Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) party, has told Brussels Signal how he plans to split up Belgium. The separatist leader says he wants to see Belgium dissolved and a new Flemish state set up within five years of this year’s elections.

The “breaking up” of the country has been a recurring theme and the Flemish Interest party is leading the latest charge to try to make it a reality.

Van Grieken said the continuous devolution of the Belgian State, from unitary rule to federalism, shows that dissolution is inevitable.

He said he expected the national elections on June 9, 2024, could be a turning point, with traditional parties “shrinking”.

The two Flemish nationalist parties, Flemish Interest and the N-VA (New Flemish Alliance), could obtain a majority in the Flemish Parliament.

But according to Van Grieken, simply asserting independence would be the wrong way to achieve their goal.

Instead, he is proposing a declaration of Flemish “sovereignty”. That would mean the regional Flemish Parliament would become “Sovereign” in every decision it makes: above, therefore, Belgium’s Federal Parliament.

Flemings would after such a declaration start “negotiations” with Wallonia, the French-speaking Southern part of Belgium, he said.

“We would give them five years … on how to split up the country. That should end in a declaration of independence,” Van Grieken stated.

He assured there would be no “chaos”, that no “strange things” would happen and that “everything would take place within an international framework”.

He also spoke of “an orderly split up”, apparently referring to a book of the same name by Flemish Interest MEP Gerolf Annemans on the matter.

He said he felt it was better to have a “clean split” and to exist as “good neighbours”, rather than stay “a family who fights all the time”.

Under his scenario, the bilingual capital Brussels should “stay with Flanders”. That is despite the city having drifted away from the rest of Flanders, in particular regarding its inhabitants’ culture and identity. Technically, Brussels is both the capital of Belgium and the capital of Flanders.

The right-wing party leader noted that there are many capitals in Europe with a distinct identity, especially “regarding migration”.

“But no Frenchman would ever say, ‘We should leave Paris’,” he added.

To keep Brussels happy, Van Grieken said he was “willing” to give the city “special rights and protections”.

He said he felt this was the best scenario for the city, as only Flanders has the desire and capacity to finance its ambitions, unlike Wallonia, or even an “independent’ Brussels.

Flemish Interest will according to polls become the largest party in Belgium after the elections.

The full video interview can be seen here.