A Throne in Brussels: Britain, the Saxe-Coburgs and the Belgianisation of Europe
In 1817 the great powers installed Leopold of Saxe- Coburg as king of Belgium ? a new, artificial state inhabited by Catholic Dutch in the North, and French- speaking Walloons in the South. Belgium is often compared to multilingual Switzerland, but whereas Switzerland grew organically, Belgium is an artificial state, in which two peoples were forced to live together and where no national consciousness developed. It could fall apart in the next ten years. Paul Belien argues that the pan-European super-state currently in the making will resemble a ?Greater-Belgium? rather than a ?Greater-Switzerland?, since Europe will also be an artificial construct. Belgium has infected EU political attitudes and acts as a model for the EU ? a failed attempt to ?construct a nation? out of different peoples with separate languages and traditions. To learn what the EU as a single state might be like, take up this highly readable mix of history, analysis and warning.
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