An incomplete Flanders, an incomplete Europe

24 November 2017
Bart De Wever

The events in Catalonia have brought the questions of self-determination, regional autonomy and nationalism to the forefront of the political debate. The story of the Flemish movement is told in Onvoltooid Vlaanderen (An incomplete Flanders), a book that was released in Dutch earlier this year.

In his essay “From Blocked Mobility to Blocked Democracy” N-VA-president Bart De Wever connects past and present and shows how the Flemish movement has transformed over the years and how it’s appeal has remained strong.

Sander Loones, MEP and vice-president of the N-VA: “For generations obstructed mobility - the idea that your social mobility is hindered because of who you are or the language that you speak - was the most powerful engine of the Flemish movement. Today it is much more about blocked democracy: the idea that there is too much of a divide between the political structures that exist and the democratic choices that our community wants to make.”

There are lot of misunderstandings about regionalism. Sander Loones: “That is why we decided to translate this essay. It’s not about historical grievances, or about keeping our own money, it’s about deciding our future for ourselves. We want to tell the international community that it is really about democracy and having our own seat at the table. If the European institutions don’t find a way of dealing with the drive for regional autonomy, it is democracy itself that will suffer. Competition between cities, regions and nations has always been the driving force behind the European successes. By embracing that competition and enhanced flexibility, the EU will stand stronger in the world. United in its diversity.”

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