Franco-Flemish Split Widens in Belgium

66% of Belgians believe the nation will break apart sooner or later
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2007 5:57 AM CDT
Shown on a computer screen is the Belgian site of ebay which highlights the country of Belgium for sale with a bid of euro10 million (US$ 13.8 million) in Belgium, Tuesday Sept. 18, 2007. Hidden among...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Tensions in Belgium over whether the country should be split in half have reached a crescendo, with 3-month-old elections still unsettled and Flemish separatist politicians calling for a divorce, the New York Times reports. "We are two different nations with nothing in common except a king, chocolate, and beer," said the Flemish Bloc leader.

Economics exacerbate the problem, with the northern Flemish economy picking up the slack for the French-speaking south, where unemployment rates are double. And a recent poll indicated that nearly half the population hopes the nation splits. "There are two extremes, one saying Belgium will last forever and others saying that we are standing at the edge of a ravine," one analyst said.