ABSTRACT

Belgium is often perceived as a quintessentially divided country. Indeed, in the last forty years the country has gone through a process of state reform that, step by step, has transformed the unitary state into an outspoken federal construction. And even right now, after the sixth constitutional reform (2013) has been concluded, this process has not come to a standstill. The dominant political party in Flanders, the N-VA (New Flemish Alliance), is presenting a blueprint for outright confederalism. In its view, both Flemings and Francophones should be considered as constituent partners of a new institutional arrangement, having to decide on the matters to be dealt with on the confederal level. Currently, however, this constitutional debate is put on hold. Although successful in the May 2014 parlimentary elections, the N-VA has chosen to participate in the regional and federal goverments with some traditional parties, giving priority to an economic recovery agenda over its confederalist claims.