In the Guardian of June 17, Simon Jerkins wrote an inspiring article as a reaction on the electoral victory of the Flemish nationalists titled “Plucky Belgium is leading the way. Today Flanders, tomorrow Scotland”. He summarized the history of ‘artificial’ Belgium, the fate of Flanders, explained parts of the grievance of the Flemings in the current Belgian constitution, made referrals to Slovakia and Slovenia and continued his article with a strong advocacy for more Euro-regionalism. Monday, The Guardian published a reaction of Sophie de Schaepdrijver, Belgian historian and Associate Professor at the Pennsylvania State University. In her article titled “Nothing plucky about breaking up Belgium” she was trying to overthrow the arguments of Jerkins with an amalgam of incomplete,incorrect and misleading facts about the New Flemish Alliance completely useless for the readers of the Guardian and out of the context . She was even referring to the viewpoints of (swallow) the ‘brilliant Flemish writer’ Tom Lanoye very well known in the UK… Consequently we conclude that her reaction was mere Flanders bashing. Mrs. de Schaepdrijver is well-known in Flanders as a revisionist of the crimes and discrimination of the Belgian regime and for her eager preaches to make every Flemish nationalist suspect. She is also a member of B plus, a Belgian nationalistic lobbying group.
Bart De Wever of the New Flemish Alliance commenced today his negotiation talks which should lead to a preliminary accord on reforms of the Belgian state and a new federal government program. This morning Mr. De Wever was meeting Senate Speaker Armand Dedecker of the MR (Walloon liberal party). Mr. Dedecker reacted after the meeting in an optimistic way describing Mr. De Wever as very positive, very modern, very kindly, and intellectually open. At the same time his fellow party member Louis Michel was openly criticizing the New Flemish Alliance on Bel-RTL, a French-language radio station. Mr. Michel, a prominent member of the MR, was using a famous quote of François Mitterand “Nationalism is war” to explain his aversion for the party of De Wever. When Mitterand used these words back in 1995, he was in fact arguing to strengthen the federal powers of the European Union. Mr. Michel, a former European Commissioner by the way, seems not to have noticed yet that the New Flemish Alliance has always been manifestly pro-Europe. Last week at the party’s victory announcement a huge blue EU flag with one of the golden stars replaced by a Flemish lion was waving to pronounce their post-modern Europeanized nationalism. Mr. Michel might have overseen this for obvious reasons there he is a notorious member of B Plus, a Belgian nationalistic lobbying group.