chapter  23
4 Pages

Minorities and Micro-States

In western Europe, some separatist demands and disputes between language groups have led to violence, some only to political agitation – although, at times, extremist groups have resorted to violence on the fringes of non-violent movements. (See 14-20 for the minority problems of eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.)

In Belgium, Flemish, a variant of Dutch, is spoken mainly north of a line running just south of the (bilingual) capital, Brussels, which hosts both many EU institutions and NATO headquarters. French is spoken mainly in the south, whose inhabitants are known as Walloons. French used to be dominant; but the Walloons are outnumbered, and economic power has shifted to the Flemish north. Since the 1970s a series of constitutional changes have made Belgium a loose federation, but some Flemings still voice separatist aims.