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.