Fainting in Coyles An occasional letter from the
Heart of Euroville
Monday, December 13, 2004
Constitution : Thoughts from Belgium
Just had a fascinating chat with a fellow who was deeply involved in the attempt to allow Belgians a vote on the EU Constitution.
From what he told me the decision day is tomorrow when the Belgian federal Parliament will take a formal vote.
It appears that they will vote against for various reasons. Of course the decision has precious little to do with the Constitution.
It appears that the increasingly powerful and flamboyant Elio di Rupo, is gunning for a No. In this he is supported by the Council of State. The Council announced that it was against a referendum, even merely advisory referendum, due to the fact that Belgium could not start having plebiscites. An advisory decision would not remain advisory, because no politician could then turn round to the populace and tell them to 'sod off'. All of the Walloon, French speaking parties, such as Di Rupo's Parti Socialiste area against, whilst some of the Flemish parties support a vote. (The only major Flemish party to be against is the Christian Democrats (CD&V) but they are run by Jean-Luc Dehaene who was one of the main framers of the Constitution).
The reason of course is that if one referendum could be held, the Belgian people might become accustomed to making decisions. Then they might ask whether Flanders should continue to subsidise Wallonia, or more frightfully whether Belgium should exist at all.
There are after all more Flemish than Walloons, see the problem.
Thus the people of this nether land will not get the chance to decide their future because their masters are frightened off the choice they might make.