Nation at heart of EU breaking apart will spell end of power grabs

Chairman of right-wing political party gets punched in the face

The collapse of the nation at the heart of the European Union would be “poetic justice”, a former Brexit Party MEP has claimed.

And Ben Habib believes if Belgium does fall apart, it may also spell the end of what he called “the EU’s power grabs” and repeated attempts to “dull national identity”.

Belgium consists of two culturally distinct regions – Wallonia, in the south, which is predominantly French-speaking, and Flanders, in the north, where most people speak Flemish.

Brussels, Belgium’s capital and home of the European Commission – and Ursula von der Leyen, its President – is also the capital of the Flemish Region,

Mr Habib was specifically commenting on the emergence of the right-wing Vlaams Belang party, which is pushing for Flanders to become a fully independent state, as a significant political force in the country.

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Tom Van Grieken, an MEP and the leader of Vlaams Belang, has vowed to press on with his quest for an independent Flanders should his party triumph in next year’s federal elections, scheduled for June 9, 2024.

Mr Habib told the bloc only had itself to blame.

He said: “It always suited Brussels’s political aims to encourage immigration.

“In its pursuit of ‘pooled sovereignty’ and closer union, for which read member states giving up power to Brussels, anything which diminishes national identity is a good thing.

“Their theory is that by dulling national identity, people will be less concerned about being governed by Brussels.

“Mass immigration dulls national identity like nothing else. Ironically, that very policy is now backfiring on Belgium.”

He added: “Flemish-speaking Flanders has had enough.

“It wants the immigration to stop, if necessary with the creation of a breakaway state. I wish them success.

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“If they can deal a deathblow to the very nation which has tirelessly sought to undermine other nation states, it would not just be poetic justice, it might also spell the end of the EU’s power grabs and unbridled immigration.

“Both these forces must be stopped.

“The EU’s agenda for ever closer ‘union’ has and still is causing massive disunity.”

Speaking to Politico last week, Mr Van Grieken said: “We believe Belgium is a forced marriage.

“If one of them wants a divorce, we’ll talk that out as adults.

“We have to come to an orderly division.

“If they don’t want to come to the table with us, we’ll do it unilaterally.”

Mr Van Grieken was at the centre of controversy last month after footage appeared to show him being hit in the face by a police officer during a demonstration in support of Belgium’s healthcare workers.

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