Showing posts with label flanders. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flanders. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

What is Wallonia? Belgium's Unusual Federal System

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Map of Belgium's three official administrative regions: the Flemish Region (Flanders), the Walloon Region (Wallonia), and the Brussels-Capital Region
Map of Belgium's three official Language Communities: the Flemish Community, the Walloon Community, and the German-speaking Community
Maps by Evan Centanni, from base map by Vascer
By Bryn Jansson

Wallonia vs. the European Union

Belgium often seems like an afterthought in European politics. It doesn’t have the economic clout of a Germany, the political influence of a France, or the military power of a Britain. It’s a small country tucked into the northwest corner of Europe, and known mostly for its chocolate and beer (though the acclaim both have earned is well-deserved). It’s home to the European Union headquarters in Brussels, but otherwise holds no special political power in the for-now 28-nation bloc.

Yet there it was this October, caught in the middle of a European political drama, the lone holdout of the EU-28 against the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a large scale free-trade deal with Canada. Even more amazingly, it wasn’t even the whole of Belgium blocking the trade deal, but only the sub-region of Wallonia, home to 32 percent of Belgians (known as “Walloons”) and less than 1 percent of EU citizens.