Dexia collapse unites Flemish and Walloons

Published on 7 October 2011 at 10:52

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“Dexia divides Belgium” headlines De Standaard, reporting on the rescue of the Franco-Belgian bank from the verge of bankruptcy. The case represents a new “bone of contention” in Belgian politics, writes the Flemish daily, as it pits the country's three regions (Flanders, Wallonia, Brussels-Capital) against the federal government. Led by the Minister-President of the Flemish Region, Kris Peeters, the regional leaders want Dexia split up into three parts (a Belgian part, a French part and a “bad bank” for “toxic” assets) in order to salvage the Belgian branch, which specialises in financing local governments. The project would have the support of both the Belgian and French shareholders but not that of the federal government, which is pushing for nationalisation of Dexia Bank Belgium. In De Morgen, the head of the politics pages, Steven Samyn, notes that “with us, as usual, the battle is being fought in a shambling fashion,” unlike with the French, who are “generally well organised ... and that’s the case today as well.... The Elysée must be smiling as they listen in on the Belgo-Belgian discussions. They say that unity makes strength [the motto of Belgium]. Today in Paris, though, they’re probably saying ‘Unity makes a farce’”.

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