Six months after the general election, Belgium still has no new government. Flemish nationalist Bart De Wever, head of the country’s largest party, wants to split Belgium into two states. In an interview that has caused a scandal in his country, he told SPIEGEL why the nation has “no future.” SPIEGEL explains:
Belgium has sunk into political chaos. Following the parliamentary elections six months ago, all attempts to build a new government have failed. The country is divided into two camps that oppose each other, apparently irreconcilably: the socialists, who won the most votes in Wallonia, the French-speaking southern region of the country, and the nationalist conservatives in Flanders, the wealthier Dutch-speaking northern region.
The New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) obtained the most parliamentary seats in June’s elections. Its leader Bart De Wever wants to split Belgium into two. In an interview with SPIEGEL that was published in German on Monday, De Wever described how Belgium is the “sick man” of Europe and has “no future in the long run.” The interview caused a massive outcry throughout Belgium. De Wever himself said he regretted it if anybody felt insulted but confirmed the message of the interview. “I have my opinion and my analysis is accurate,” he said. “There is nothing in the interview that is not true.”
Thanks to our friend Cullen Thompson over at Bienville Capital Management for pointing out the underappreciated risks within the EU’s headquarters. Since our initial conversation over dinner in New York earlier this year, credit spreads on Belgium sovereign debt have quietly doubled. De Wever is certainly a unique Motivational Speaker. Which poses an interesting question . . . Cullen, have you considered the similarities in the images below?
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.