Belgium in 2030

Language Rights

The cultural and linguistic tensions created in the 19th century between the Francophones and the Flemings are still high, even in 2030. The divide between Flanders (Dutch speaking region in the North) and Wallonia (French speaking region in the South) only continues to grow. Tensions between these two language communities are so strong, the government has been brought down several times; creating constant political instability.1

As the divide between the Dutch and the French continues to grow, whether or not Belgium will be split into two countries is a topic that is constantly brought up. Wallonia sees no reason for a split and Francophones living in the officially bilingual municipality, Brussels, are on the same page.2 Flemish politicians support the split, as they believe they will gain more autonomy.3 The problem with the separation would be that Francophones who end up on the Dutch-speaking side no longer have the ability to vote for Walloons, as only Flemish parties would be allowed to field candidates.4 As of right now, a split between the Francophones and Flemings is very unlikely because there are too many issues involved in breaking up the country, such as payment of national debt or simply dealing with the overall future for Belgium.

Many Belgians are unhappy with the fact that the Belgian state bases political structures on linguistic differences.5 Belgian's feel as though this could lead back to Flemish nationalists regaining an independent Flanders, therefore recreating all the problems Belgium had before.6 Despite this, debating the topic of separation could lead to resolutions of other problems within 2030 and beyond.

Terrorism and Islamophobia

The Charlie Hebdo shooting of early 2015 in Paris, France caused Europe to be on high terrorism alert. Eight days after the attack on the satirical French magazine, another terrorist attack erupted, killing 17 people.7 After this attack Belgium launched multiple anti-terror raids  against suspects who came back from Syria to prepare an attack on police.8 Many are still worried about Islamic extremists attacking Belgium in 2030, as Belgium had a strong connection to North Africa, Syria and Iraq, and there are no border controls between Belgium and France.9 Although Belgium does not have a large population of Muslims, it has not done its best to integrate Muslims into the Belgian society.10

After the attack in Paris, promoting integration and moderation flew out the window.11 Many Muslims within Belgium's Muslim community believe the discrimination they face only encourages the radicalization of Muslim youth living in Belgium.12 With the rise of ISIS and other Islamist extremist groups, Islamophobia is increasing in Europe, specifically Belgium.13 In addition, many recruiting networks, created specifically to recruit European fighters, are becoming more successful over the years.14

The problem is European leaders have allowed their citizens to travel to Middle Eastern war zones for far too long.15 In the past, many who traveled from Europe to the Islamic State never came back to attack their home country.16 This is no longer the case, as Belgium and other European countries are becoming a terrorist crossroad.17

Women Vs. Men

The Women’s Charter created in 2010 and the European Commission’s Strategy for Equality between Women and Men set out to close the gender pay gap significantly by using both legislative and non- legislative means.18 The Europe 2020 Strategy was a plan to promote gender equality in order to boost employment, and to have 75% of women and men aged 20-64 employed by 2020.19 In the IEFH (Institute for Sexual Equality) 2015 report, it stated that Belgian women earned 9% less than males in 2012, which was a 1% decreased from 2011's 10%.20

Although significant changes have been made, the gender wage gap is a major issue that has yet to be fully resolved.21 Some causes of the gender pay gap are: discrimination in the workplace, undervaluation of women's work and skills, work sectors made up of more women have lower wages than those dominated by men, and few women are in senior and leadership roles.22

There are many benefits to closing the wage gap between men and women that we are expecting to see in the future.23 Some of these benefits are that it would create a more fair and equal society in Belgium, it would be good for businesses and the economy, and it would form a basis for economic growth and recovery.24

Bibliography

"Belgium Country Profile - Overview - BBC News." BBC News. BBC, 2 Apr. 2015. Web. 6 June 2015.

"Belgium's Self-destructive Politics." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 25 Apr. 2010. Web. 6 June 2015.

"The Problem with Belgium – Telegraph Blogs." News The Problem with Belgium Comments. The Telegraph UK. Web. 6 June 2015.

Dorell, Oren. "Tiny Belgium Is a Terrorist Crossroad." USA Today. Gannett, 17 Jan. 2015. Web. 7 June 2015.

Watson, Ivan. "Why Terror Recruiters Succeed in Belgium - CNN.com." CNN. Cable News Network, 22 Jan. 2015. Web. 7 June 2015.

"Tackling the Gender Pay Gap in the European Union." European Commission, 2014. Web. 7 June 2015.

"The Brussels Times - Gender Wage Gap (hourly Rate) Smaller in 2012." The Brussels Times - Gender Wage Gap (hourly Rate) Smaller in 2012. The Brussels Times, 7 June 2015. Web. 7 June 2015.

End Notes

1. "Belgian Political Crisis and Talk of Linguistic Divisions Continue | Europe | DW.DE | 02.10.2007." DW.DE. Web. 6 June 2015.

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4. "Belgium Country Profile - Overview - BBC News." BBC News. BBC, 2 Apr. 2015. Web. 6 June 2015.

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7. Dorell, Oren. "Tiny Belgium Is a Terrorist Crossroad." USA Today. Gannett, 17 Jan. 2015. Web. 7 June 2015.

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10. Watson, Ivan. "Why Terror Recruiters Succeed in Belgium - CNN.com." CNN. Cable News Network, 22 Jan. 2015. Web. 7 June 2015.

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12. "Belgium's Self-destructive Politics." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 25 Apr. 2010. Web. 6 June 2015.

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18. "Tackling the Gender Pay Gap in the European Union." European Commission, 2014. Web. 7 June 2015.

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21. "The Brussels Times - Gender Wage Gap (hourly Rate) Smaller in 2012." The Brussels Times - Gender Wage Gap (hourly Rate) Smaller in 2012. The Brussels Times, 7 June 2015. Web. 7 June 2015.

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