Flemish Movement

The Flemish Movement (Dutch: Vlaamse Beweging) is the political movement for greater autonomy of the Belgian region of Flanders, for protection of the Dutch language, for the overall protection of Flemish culture and history, and in some cases, for splitting from Belgium and forming an independent state.

The Flemish Movement's moderate wing was for a long time dominated by the Volksunie ("People's Union"), a party that from its onset in 1954 until its collapse in 2002, greatly advanced the Flemish cause although severely criticised by hardliners for being too accommodating. After the Volksunie's collapse, the party's representatives were absorbed by other Flemish parties. Today nearly every Flemish party (except for the far right Vlaams Belang) can be considered part of the moderate wing of the Flemish Movement. This wing has many ties with union and industry organisations, especially with the VOKA (network of the Vlaams Economisch Verbond (VEV, Flemish Economic Union).

The Flemish Movement's right wing is dominated by radical right-wing organizations such as Vlaams Belang, Voorpost, Nationalistische Studentenvereniging (Nationalist Students Union), and several others. The most radical group on the left side is the socialist and Flemish independentist Flemish-Socialist Movement. The militant wing also still comprises several moderate groups such as the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA, Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie), and several extra-parliamentary organisations, many of which are represented in the Overlegcentrum van Vlaamse Verenigingen (OVV, Consultation Centre of Flemish Associations). The most important of these is the Vlaamse Volksbeweging (VVB, Flemish People's Movement).

Today, the militant wing of the Flemish Movement generally advocates the foundation of an independent Flemish republic, separating from Wallonia. The rightist parties Vlaams Belang and N-VA (the largest party in the Flemish Parliament as of 2014) support this view. A part of this militant wing also advocates reunion with the Netherlands. This view is shared with several Dutch right-winged activists and nationalists, as well as some mainstream politicians both in the Netherlands and Flanders (such as Louis Tobback, the mayor of Leuven or former minister of defence and Eurocommissioner Frits Bolkestein).

The liberal List Dedecker, as well as several representatives of important Flemish parties belonging to the moderate wing, including the Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) party, the Flemish Liberals and Democrats (VLD) party, and, to a lesser extent, the Different Socialist Party (SP.A), prefer a confederal organisation of the Belgian state over the current federal organisation. Such a scheme would make the Flemish government responsible for nearly all aspects of government, whereas some important aspects of government are currently the responsibility of the Belgian federal government. The Belgian capital of Brussels would remain a city where both Dutch-speaking and French-speaking citizens share equal rights.

As of 2010, the confederalist parties make up more than half of the Flemish Parliament, which combined with the separatist parties, would result in about 80% of the Flemish Parliament (and at least this much of the Flemish part of the Belgian Federal Parliament) occupied by parties who wish to see Flanders obtaining greater autonomy than is the case today.

This page was last edited on 21 April 2018, at 20:33.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flemish_nationalism under CC BY-SA license.

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