The language conflict in Belgium seemed almost solved around 1990. But the growing economic gap between Flanders and Wallony added new fire to the nationalistic tensions.
In 1989 for the first time long and difficult negotiations were held about dividing parts of the national treasury into regional ones. This led the then chief-minister of
Just as old the language-conflict was about to be solved, this growing economic split gave a new twist to the legacy of nationalist tensions. In a first reaction to the decline of their region, around 1970, the dominant socialists in Wallony under the leadership of André Cools had decided to cooperate in the process of devolution. They were driven by the belief that they could follow their own socialist path towards recovery without further intervention from
Gradually the Walloon politicians gave up on devolution.
Their own success, the strains of a long budgetary crisis between 1980 and 1995 and no doubt also some arrogance about their economic achievements, made the Flemish grow increasingly impatient about the inability of Walloon politicians to clean up their mess. The idea of breaking
The situation has not much changed since 1990. The recovery of Wallony is still too weak to keep unemployment under 15 %. Last year the Walloon socialists were rocked by another huge scandal in the main Walloon city of