The Dark Roots of the EU
Paul Belien - 2009 01 17
Belgium was founded exactly 175 years ago, in 1830. The cover of A Throne in Brussels, the book I wrote for its anniversary, depicts the map of the European Union in the Belgian colours. This is no coincidence. As Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt recently said: “Belgium is the laboratory of European unification. Foreign politicians watch our country with particular interest because it can teach them something about the feasibility of the European project.”
Two peoples live within the Belgian state: Dutch-speaking Flemings and French-speaking Walloons. In 1830 the country was part of the Dutch-speaking Netherlands. The Belgian revolution was the work of French-speaking rebels who wanted to have it annexed to France. The international powers stepped in and, by way of compromise, decided to make Belgium an independent kingdom with at its helm a German prince, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, who was a member of the British royal family.