A multicultural Society in a Multinational State?

ИмеA multicultural Society in a Multinational State?
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Multiculturalism in Europe and North America


A Multicultural Society in a Multinational State?


Belgium – history and current stage of its societies

Eduard Hulicius

III. semester FSV/ES

Contemporary western world is in search of finding an ideal equilibrium of living of various kinds of men, women and their communities together in a peaceful way. This ideal is a key to abolishing potential bloodsheds in a world, whose inhabitants multiply with an unstoppable speed.

In heart of Europe lays a country, which is historically divided between two languages – and two nations. In second half of last century the public excitement and growth of nationalistic feelings led to a division of this so far unitary state into an extremely elaborated federal network of regions and communities. In the same time an unending flow of immigrants from Europe and beyond added its presence to the existing complicated mosaic. The question is – how does the model of Belgium, for this is the concerned state, cope with the ever-growing diversity of its inhabitants. Can the Belgians – Dutch, French and German speaking people of one state teach something the other, nationally united states?

It is difficult to state the exact time of historical division of the area of upper Low Countries into two (or three) linguistically different areas. However, a general answer may be given. The Roman Empire ruled over whole area of contemporary Belgium – and a Gallo-roman culture prospered there, in valleys of major rivers as well as on seashore and on forested hills. Certain areas were nevertheless less populated – especially those whose Celtic inhabitants were exterminated in a genocidal style noted even by contemporaries, during the invasion of great Caesar. Into these zones on north and east of the area were posted by the will of emperors the German foederati of German Frankish language. Even though the expansion of Germanic tribes pushed far on the south during decline and fall of the empire, the archaeology shows us, that the population of Gallo Romans stayed there. The Belgium of 5th-7th century is covered by two types of cemeteries, original and Germanic. And the dividing line between areas of these is almost the same as contemporary border between the two languages.

The common as well as noble people of the area mastered Germanic dialect “thiois” from which Dutch evolved, while renaissance of Romanic French speaking France on the south helped to increase influence and usage of its speech. The situation stabilized around 11th century. It is strange, that while all areas with prevailing use of French were officially subject to the Emperor of German Empire, while Germanic speaking Flanders had king of France as their sovereign.

Although regional dialects differed (it is noteworthy to say, that while the French-speaking Belgians are called Walloons, the Walloon dialect is accepted as a differing tool of speech, used by cca. 200 000 people today; The Flemish have similar problem, when the difference between their language and Dutch of Netherlands is mainly in pronunciation of certain words – the Dutch so talk of Flemish used by their southern brethren, who are nevertheless insisting on the name Dutch for their speech), the general division between two main groups was made. The advantage of most of its inhabitants, who mastered both Romanic and Germanic, mirrored in development of international trade as well as in special position the nobility of this lands had in the Crusades, as its members could command knights from west and east.

Growing prestige and power of France led to a slow Romanisation of ruling classes, while the bourgeoisie of mighty merchant and industrial cities held on language of their fathers. With defeat of power of Flemish cities by Dukes of Burgundy and with ever-growing importance of French neighbour during centuries of Habsburg dominance, the French gained on importance, even though the French kings very often brought plague of war to the Low Countries and even stole huge parts of traditional fiefdoms of local counts and dukes. The use of Dutch was slowly being limited (especially after emigration of many members of local elite to northern United Provinces) only on country. During 18th century the progress of use of French accelerated thanks to influence of enlightenment, the revolution and years of occupation and annexing of Belgium to France. The finest example is case of capital – Brussels – in 1783 15% of its inhabitants talked French. In 1830 30%. In 1910 50% and today 85% - and the city is still within area of prevailing use of Dutch.

The swift expansion of industrial revolution mainly in the south purely French-speaking areas led to another increase of use of French. With fall of kingdom of United Netherlands in 1830 the French, language of civilization and culture became without many a do the main language of the new realm. However, a response of Flemish population came at last. The national awakening, comparable with situation in Czech lands, led to growth of self-confidence of the Flemish. While the ruling political and economical elites saw no problem in the situation, the artists, especially writers, began a campaign for equal position of Dutch in state administration, justice and society. Their demands were even more justified when popular census of 1846 shown that in Belgium lives 2 471 000 Flemish and 1 827 000 Walloons – and the official language even in councils of large cities in Flanders was French! On behalf of Flemish party were two Flemish elected to the national parliament in 1863 and were the first to speak in their mother-language there. The efforts of representatives of majority (not minority! How seldom this might be said!) were confirmed when the state administration was declared bilingual in 1878 and the teaching in both language was equalized five years later – however, there was still no Flemish university. The continuing economical difference between two parts of the country was also not good for the Flemish – in last quarter of 19th century about 200 000 Flemish moved for work to Wallonia. A law on equality of 1898 proclaimed that the laws of the land shall be published in both languages of the land (68 years after establishment of the state! As if Slovak was put on the same level as Czech in 1986). Another law ordered to teach the children in primary schools the language of their families in 1914. Of course, this law was not supposed to be valid for Brussels, where knowledge of French was automatically presumed.

A growing pressure of minoritised majority led also the majoritising minority of Walloons to react. Especially purely francophone state officials of Flanders were very afraid of the equality of both languages. A political line of the cleavage also appeared. The dominant Catholic party had its main power base in north, while the francophones voted mainly for opposition Liberals and Socialists. The first to openly suggest a possible division of the state was a socialist deputy Julius Destrée who said that there are only Walloons and Flemish, no Belgians. This idea was growingly popular among inhabitants of richer Wallonia. The Flemish were loyal to Belgium – only if they would receive adequate position. The elites, which have foreseen short future of divided state (south would be annexed by France, north by Netherlands or Germany) supported the idea of the state. Monumental History of Belgium from Henri Pirenne tried to show that in the history both communities cooperated successfully for common good. Another historian, Godefroi Kurth analysed in 1913 that the differences between Flemish and Walloons are being ruthlessly highlighted only in previous thirty years. And Antoin Clesse, a francophone with Flemish surname said “Flemish and Walloons are just our first names. Belgian is the name of our family!”

German forces that occupied almost whole Belgium in 1914 supported the growth of tensions. Preferential treatment of Flemish, opening of a Flemish university in Gent and hints of possible division of land and annexation of Flanders to Germany have however succeeded in attaching allegiance of only relatively small number of Flemish. The Flemish national union kept flavour of collaborating organization and vast majority stayed loyal to king Albert I., who commanded a small but effective Belgian army on Yser. During 1917 the internal tensions endangered fighting ability of this corpse of approx. 150 000 men – while the privates and non-commissioned officers were almost without exception Dutch-speaking, the officers were purely francophone. These differences led to growth of movement of front soldiers in all units of the army. Shortly before beginning of prepared strike (or mutiny), a new German offensive and subsequent counteroffensive and the end of war pre-empted risk of Flemish rebellion.

Post-war widening of political rights (general suffrage for adult male population) on one hand stabilized the position of three main political parties, but also allowed quick development of minor parties representing interests of radical parties – not only radical left- and rightwing, but also of radical “flammigants” and Walloons. However the main cleavages in the Belgian society were based on social differences.

A new German occupation in 1940 was met with bigger scale of internal opposition, partly because of loss of national field army. Although the nazi government would prefer more the Flemish quislings, it happened that the major Belgian collaborator was a Walloon – Léon Degrelle, general of the SS. Tries to exploit antagonisms between drench- and Dutch-speaking Belgians were not successful – the divided nation preserved unity face to face with mortal danger.

However, immediately after the end of war (and indeed even during the last eight months of it), the traditional differences appeared anew. While the Flemish north and Christian-social party desired return of king Leopold III. (who capitulated in 1940 and was interned in Germany) from Swiss exile, the citizens of Brussels and Wallonia rejected the idea of monarchy itself. These two positions were shown in a plebiscite on return of Leopold in 1950. 57,68% of voters agreed with return of the king. But of the three regions only the north voted for it – 72,3%, while majorities of both Brussels (52%) and Wallonia (58%) rejected the return. Leopold III. decided to resign when four people died in subsequent unrests and his 17 year old and popular son Baudouin acceded to the throne, thus calming the royal affair.

While the economy of the country quickly healed from war injuries (the development was faster in traditionally poorer north, while the southern heavy industry began to feel the structural problems of metallurgic and mining sector), the language controversy silently crept back. While the major political problem of 19th century Belgium (the school question on financing of state and private – catholic – schools) was peacefully solved in late 50ies, new issue, that led to change of form of state appeared.

Already during the interwar period the political parties begun to divide internally on Flemish and Walloon wings. After 1945 the language wings quickly drifted apart from each other, and common structures and leadership became extinct. Demography and geography added new reasons for paranoia of both communities. Already in 1945 486 of 1500 delegates (MPs, mayors, important political and society figures) of Walloon national congress called for secession of Wallonia and its annexation to France. Half of the delegates opted for call for autonomy. The Flemish movement, which stayed in defensive in the post-war period, was invigorated by 1950 census that has shown growing numbers of Francophones in the strategic area between Brussels and Wallonia. In 1954 a Volksunie – National Union – was established and put call for federalization of the country and defence of Flemish community, especially in Brussels, as its credo. The importance of the capital city supported fears of Flemish – while Wallonia lost 1,5% of its inhabitants in 50ies, Brussels citizens remained 15% of total population.


Worsening economic downfall of Wallonia and growing importance of Flanders led to higher self-confidence of the Flemish. In south the (there dominant) Walloon socialist party slowly decided to support calls for federalization in order to keep its position in its region. Christian and Socialist government decided in 1961 to officially set up solid borders to so far not limited language areas. 4 provinces (Hainault, Namur, Luxembourg and Liege – with special community of 25 villages of German-speaking people) were to be Francophone, 4 (East and West Flanders, Antwerp and Limburg) were to be Dutch-speaking. Heart of Belgium, Brabant was split in two halves, northern went to Flemish, south to Walloons Brussels, totally surrounded by Northern Brabant, was to be bilingual. Few villages near the new borders changed its traditional regional allegiance. The new regions and legalisation of language divisions did not calmed the unrest. In 1961 elections parties demanding federalization gained, but stayed short to majority allowing changes to the constitution.


Unexpected and harsh unrests broke up in University City of Leuven in 1966. Radicalised Flemish students of the Catholic university demanded leave of all francophone students and professors. The Episcopal collegium governing the University refused this and the demonstrations expanded to rest of Flemish regions. The government offered establishment of a francophone university elsewhere in Wallonia while keeping francophone colleges in Leuven, the Dutch-speaking professors of Leuven joined the student protests in 1968. Subsequent crisis led to fall of government and a decision on purge of Francophones in Leuven. Half of the ancient university left to newly established modern city of New Leuven – Louvain-la-neuve in Wallonian Brabant.

The new government also created “Group 28” that presented a 35-point programme in 1970. Its full adoption in December 1970 meant end of unitary state, but not of unrests. The change of constitution established 4 regions (of French, Dutch and German language and bilingual Brussels) and 3 communities (Walloon, Flemish and German-speaking) The Culture Councils of the communities decided on issues connected with culture. The regions were not of significant importance. Primary issue of Brussels was not solved.


The political situation stayed unstable after 1970. Both wings of traditional parties were in state of decay and the between 1958-1999 hegemonic Flemish Christian-socialists were forced to dissolve and create government almost on a monthly basis (Leo Tindemans was head of six governments between 1975-1978 and Wilfried Martens gave name to nine governments between 1979-1992). Decline of economy of Wallonia seemed unstoppable – in 1975 it had over 9% of unemployment and GDP of 576 billion francs, while the north kept healthy 5% unemployment and GDP of 1885 billion.

The traditional political parties received new competition – Flemish Bloc, a radical anti-immigration and anti-monarchist party appeared in 1978, with independence of Flanders as its main issue. The bilingual Brussels gave birth to francophone Democratic Front that dominated city politics ever since.

The cunning Flemish Christian politician Martens decided to reach federalization of Belgium in slow steps. He sidetracked difficult issue of Brussels by giving more powers to Walloon and Flemish communities. A special court of arbitrage for dealing with conflicts between the communities was established and the Flemish Community and Dutch-speaking Region were united in one entity. While the government dealt with crisis of economy in first half of 80ies, the minor Happart affair led to its longest crisis in Belgian history. Purely francophone of Happart village located in Flemish Limburg province was not allowed to keep his post due to lack of knowledge of Community language and his all francophone parties joined for his defence.

Martens decided to deal with the ongoing problems quickly. Brussels received a status of region with own parliament and executive in 1988. The three main regions received new competences in affairs of public works and infrastructure (with exception of railroads and airlines) and the language communities became responsible for education and press.

The steps towards federalization were not enough for the voters. In elections of 1991 all three (six) traditional parties lost votes, while Flemish bloc and its Walloon counterpart Front National as well as environmentalist parties Ecolo and an Agalev gained. All important parties agreed on creation of a “sanitary blockade” towards Flemish Bloc and Christian and Socialist government of Jean-Luc Dehaene conducted negotiations that led to a final and significant change of constitution in July 1993.

Belgium turned to a federal state. 3 Regions (Flanders – cca 5,9 million, Wallonia – 3,3 million and Brussels – 0,9 million inhabitants) bear primary responsibility in ten areas:

  • regional development

  • environment

  • agriculture

  • housing

  • water

  • economy

  • energy

  • employment

  • transport and public works

  • research

The 3 Communities (Flemish – united with Flanders region, Francophone and German) are responsible for culture, education and language issues. Both Regions and Communities have own councils (that are composed of federal MPs from Region) and governments.

The federal government is set from 15 ministries (at least 7 from both of two main communities) keeps responsibility in issues of defence, budget, social and foreign affairs, and railroad and air transportation, partly for communications, education and research. The government oversees 90% of taxes in Belgium and thus keeps strategic advantage over the federal regions. Federal parliament has two chambers, lower with 150 MPs and Senate with 71 senators. All important decision has to be agreed with 2/3 majority of federal parliament as well as of regional councils.

The traditional 10 provinces remained, but have mainly representative and administrative role. The local level of government is divided into 589 communes that work as conductor of power of regions toward citizens.

It can be said, that the Belgians decided to solve a complicated problem with a fundamental complication of management of state affairs. And this trend seem to continue, as the strength of anti-Belgian Flemish Bloc is not diminishing and continuing economical disparities between three parts of federation lead to adoption of nationalist stance even by less radical Flemish and Walloon political parties.

After this long and exhausting introduction, we have to add information on Belgians who happen not to be Flemish or Walloons (or Germans from bordering region, who have granted a special status and secured seats in the federal parliament). How did they come to Belgium and how can they be represented in new, federal Belgium? Has the state that meticulously tries to unite two large communities been successful in offering happy life to all its inhabitants?

Immigration to Belgium

Modern Belgium was not in first century of its existence an immigration state. There was important migration from Flanders to Wallonia, and small emigration beyond the ocean (and a very small emigration to unhealthy Belgian colony of Congo). In 1846 there was 94 821 foreigners living in Belgium, that is 2,18% of total population. It was 3,17% in 1900 and 2,02% twenty years later. About 90% of these foreigners came from neighbouring Germany, France, Luxembourg, The Netherlands or United Kingdom. Most of remaining 10% were students on excellent Belgian universities and polytechnic institutes. The liberal regime allowed Belgian reputation as a safe haven for political émigrés.

Post-war recovery and growing difficulties stemming from organization of labour force led the owners of major industrial enterprises, especially mines, to attract manual workers from abroad. In 1923 10% of miners were of foreign nationality. It was 18% seven years later. The state helped to organise travel of miners, mainly Italians and Poles, to and back from Belgium, however due to growing crisis it established first restrictive laws on foreign workforce in 1930ies – immigration was allowed only on basis of dual work permit issued to the immigrant and the employer. The permit required at least three years of work in one sector. No efforts to integrate these mainly temporal workers were made.

Proportion of foreigners in the population was 4,1% in 1937 – in absolute numbers the foreign population grown from 150 000 in 1920 to 340 000 in 1938 – 51% of them came from neighbouring countries.

A very strong impulse for luring foreign work immigration was given by the end of Second World War The Belgian industry was relatively unaffected by war and the continent gravely needed raw materials available in Belgian soil. What was scarce was the workforce. Until 1946 46 000 German prisoners of war mined in Belgium. After their return home the government concluded an agreement with Italian government – Italy would provide miners, Belgium would sell to Italy agreed amount of coal. Within weeks 77 000 Italian miners, mainly north Italians, arrived in Belgium, together with 23 000 German miners displaced from Eastern Europe. Local conditions were very harsh – several foreign workers were housed in barracks used previously as a camp for German POWs and before that as a camp for Russian POWs.

Until 1953 44 000 new temporary workers arrived. Meanwhile, due to slight slowing of economy and unions pressure was the state-organised immigration stopped in 1949-1950 and again in 1952-1955. Between 1955-1957 20 000 new Italians came to Belgium. Not very known fact of Belgian dependence on foreign workers was revealed when a mining accident at Marcinelle in 1956 killed 262 miners, of who 136 were Italians. Pressure of Italian government on betterment of conditions for Italians led Belgium to turn for new sources of cheap manual labour.

The integration of foreign workers was not of major interest for Belgian state throughout the period. It is true, that large majority of them preferred to return home with money earned in Belgium. In 1952 the ministry of Labour and Social affairs started sponsoring of Italian almoners and alphabetisation projects among miners.

Between 1956-1972 series of bilateral agreements with various Mediterranean countries on recruitment of workers for Belgian mines and steelworks was concluded. Firstly came Spaniards and Greeks. As competition for foreign labourers in neighbouring countries grew, Belgium sought new areas for recruitment. Since 1964 Moroccans and Turks were coming. As well as previous temporary immigrants were these invited to bring their families along (in order to use immigration for demographic purposes in Wallonia and to compete with neighbouring states). On contrary from them, the newest immigrants not only got their families into Belgium, but also decided to stay, mainly in large cities, especially Brussels, whose demographical situation was changing faster, as Belgians moved out of the inner city to periphery. Between 1962-1971 total of 544 000 foreign workers (as Belgium does not differentiate between various nationalities, foreigners are all those, who do not posses Belgian passport) came to work in Belgium and 260 000 returned home. 284 000 stayed and when were rejoined with their families, the final figure of foreigners living in Belgium was 716 000 – over 7% of the total population. In the period 1947-1970 1 110 000 persons immigrated to Belgium and 580 000 returned home.

The new numbers and unprecedented growth of immigrant population forced the state to adopt new position. In 1968 the European Economic Communities established rule of free movement of working forces between its members. The state government as well as provincial councils were setting up immigration services for reception and integration of newcomers throughout sixties. In 1971 the trade unions pressure led to allowing participation of non-EEC workers in social elections. Economic recession (oil crisis) of early seventies led to a decision of Belgian government to stop all new immigration and active recruitment of non-EEC guest workers in August 1974.

Uncertain legal position of foreigners in Belgium led to a new political debate. Since 1977 several immigrant associations lobbied for enfranchisement of non-nationals on local levels. In 1980 new law regulated status of foreign residents. This law was a swan song of central decision-making, since first Martens reforms the integration policies seceded on regional level. Growing fear from foreigners and radicalisation of indigenous population did not stop adoption of ius soli in 1984 – the babies born on Belgian soil automatically received Belgian citizenship. However, the same bill adopting ius soli allowed restrictions on settlement of non-EC immigrants in communes with already large numbers of immigrants, thus sanctioning actions taken by mayors of some communes. Especially local governments were in difficult position, as they were to deal with immigration from closest level. The success of Flemish Bloc happened first in local elections – a purely anti-immigrant ticket led to gain of 18% of votes in Antwerp elections in 1988.

Apart from non-EC immigrants continued – in 1991 24 900 EC citizens (mainly Spanish, Italians and Greeks) immigrated and 12 500 emigrated. A new source of foreigners took form of asylum seekers. The troubles occurring in various parts of the world after end of the Cold war led to growth of number of asylum seekers from 4 500 in 1988 to 26 500 in 1993. Between 1988 and 1996 123 000 persons applied to a refugee status, which was granted to 8 715 of them.

The growing needs and demands of immigrant population led in 1988 to a creation of a special administration – Royal commissariat for immigration policies, whose task is to monitor the immigrant issue and coordinate the development of a new and systematic policy towards immigrants and ethnic minorities. The official pivotal concept of immigrant policy became integration – insertion of immigrants to Belgian society and structural involvement of immigrants. Under impulse of urban riots in Brussels in 1991 the Commissariat proposed extension of street level policies. In 1993 it was transformed into CEOOR – Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism. The Centre cooperates with federal and sub-state governments in focusing on employment, housing, education, youth and health issues of the immigrant population.

This population had due to census of 1998 903 120 people (9% of population of 10 192 264; 62% of them are EU citizens). The foreigners live mainly in Brussels (29,4% of its population), less in Wallonia (10,1%) and least in Flemish region (4,9%) – while 60% of foreigners in Wallonia are French (in whole Belgium there was 103 000 French in 1991) and Italians (240 000 in 1991) and largest part of Flemish foreigners are Dutch (82 000 in 1991), in Brussels 50% of non EU citizens come from Morocco.

While the EU citizens have their rights and freedoms granted via common treaties of the Union, the third-country nationals are in a different position. In terms of political participation, which establishes the full enjoyment of civic duties and rights, until 1976 the general franchise was limited only to born Belgians. Those of naturalised or gained citizenship might participate only in local elections. Until 1993 they could not candidate in provincial and national elections.

Belgium received special opt-out from European directive that thanks to Maastricht treaty ordered right of EU citizens to vote and stand for elections under same conditions as nationals of EU state in which they live. Due to the fact, that Brussels is as administrative capital of the EU full of EU citizens who might strongly influence the fragile linguistic power-balance in certain Brussels communes, the voting right in local elections is limited in communes with more than 20% EU-foreigners on those, who live there for at least 6 years. The opt-out was not used; however until 2006 the aldermen might be only Belgian nationals.

Another special group of immigrant population based not on ethnicity but on faith are the Muslims. Belgian law recognises seven faith groups: the Roman Catholic, the Protestant, the Anglican, the Israelite, the Orthodox, the Atheist and the Islamic (since 1973). The Royal Commissioner for immigration policies recognised the peculiarity of Muslim immigrants and proposed establishment of High Council for Muslims in 1989 – however nothing was made in the end. Since 1996 the government supports representatives of the Muslim community in a Muslim Executive of Belgium, in order to achieve acceptation of democratic procedures and elections in the community. In 1998 51 persons were elected and 17 appointed to the Muslim assembly, which elected 16 members of Executive office. This Office is recognised by Belgian government as an official interlocutor of the State for the management of temporal issues linked to the Islam faith.

On the political level the established political parties try to attach interest of ethnic minorities by appointing members of ethnic minorities on candidate lists. For example Mrs. Fauzaya Talhaoui was MP for Agalev party and currently is socialist Senator. However it is fact that only ten members of ethnic minorities are sitting in the federal parliament of 221 members. The tactics of using the ethnic candidates on unelectable places as Ali-Alibis and wooers for members of their minorities in ethnic areas is sharply criticised by members of minorities and the press.

The more radical members of minorities decided to establish their own political parties as response to success of strongly anti-immigrant parties of Fronte National and Flemish Bloc (which has changed its name in end of 2004 on Vlaams Belang – Flemish Interest – after it was judicially proclaimed as seeking racist policies). In 2000 Dyab Abou Jahjah of Lebanese origin established Arab-European League that is against assimilation policies and protection of Muslim identity. The League ran together with Flemish Socialist party in 2003 elections, but it attracted only minor interest of voters – 0,9% in Antwerp region and 0,43% in Brussels. In 2003 the party changed name to Muslim Democratic Party, but in regional elections in 2004 it received only 0,27% votes in Antwerp and 0,14% in East Flanders. So far there is no wide radicalisation of Islamic immigrants in Belgium.

The Belgian main nations – Flemish and Walloons – have created an elaborate system of checks and balances to minimalise mutual antagonisms. Apart from the royal family the main integrating factor is capital Brussels, which received special status so that there is no reason to attach it to geographically closer Flanders or linguistically closer Wallonia. The federalisation of Belgium indeed stopped the long lasting discussions on possible dissolution of common state (however, especially in Flanders this attitude has some sympathies) and can serve as a nice example for solution of similar problems.

Belgium is also a strongly immigrant country, which seems to have found a right way how to balance inclusion of large minorities. However, it is not possible to talk about full integration –not in this moment and not in close future. The Belgian federation successfully tries to establish a dialogue with most significant and fastest growing community of immigrants – the Muslims. It is interesting, that the main criticism of a report Protection of minorities in Belgium by Committee on Legal Affairs and Human rights of Council of Europe from 2002 sharply criticises the limitations put on Francophone inhabitants of Brussels due to ordered bilingualism of the city and on pressure on Francophones living in Flemish region but do not note any injustices towards ethnic minorities.

Notwithstanding this criticism it might be said, that Belgium seems to found quite good way how to deal with minorities. Whether it is based on the unique the historical experience of Walloons and Flemish remains a difficult question. Compared to neighbouring Netherlands, that had not thanks to lack of heavy industry experience with immigration of large numbers of low-skilled foreigners and seems not to apply the right model of integration, the Belgium is happier state. Let's hope it will stay one.

Sources and literature:

Bitsch: Histoire de la Belgique – de l’Antiquité à nos jours, Bruxelles, 2004

Belgium - A Multicultural Society - http://www.diplomatie.be/en/belgium/belgiumdetail.asp?TEXTID=1756

Bousetta, Jacobs, Kagné, Martiniello, Nys, Réa, Swyngedouw: Multicultural policies and modes of citizenship in Belgium: The Cases of Antwerp, Liège, and Brussels, Multicultural Policies and Modes of Citizenship in European Cities (MPMC), MOST-UNESCO, 1999 – http://unesco.org/most/p937belg.pdf

CEOOR – Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism – http://www.antiracisme.be/en/ceoor/introduction.htm

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2004, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the State department of the USA – http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41672.htm

Dumont: La Belgique, Paris, 1991

Report – Protection of minorities in Belgium, doc. 9536 of Committee on Legal Affairs and human Rights of the Council of Europe, 2002 –

Witte, Crayebeckx, Meynen: Political history of Belgium – From 1830 onwards, Antwerp and Brussels, 2000


Most of the presented numbers was approximated!


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