There was evidence of growing social tension related to this influx, and during the early s anti-immigrant groups gained greater support—only to see that support fade somewhat by the end of the decade. Indeed, in the Belgian government offered an amnesty to illegal immigrants who had resided in Belgium for a minimum number of years.
Moreover, in a large demonstration against racism in Antwerp , prompted by the murder in May of a Malian nanny and a Belgian toddler, revealed the dedication of many Belgians to a multicultural society. Several laws passed in the early 21st century further reflected reformist attitudes. Gay marriage became legal; same-sex couples were permitted to adopt children; the private use of cannabis was decriminalized; and euthanasia was legalized. The central role of Belgium particularly Brussels in the European unity project became more apparent, with massive urban renewal projects initiated in Brussels to make room for the expanding EU administrative corps.
In the process, Belgians tended to define their interests increasingly in international terms. In the continued existence of a federalized Belgium was called into question after the Flemish Christian Democrats, victors in the June parliamentary elections, failed to form a governing coalition. After six months of political deadlock that threatened to end in the breakup of the country , King Albert II asked caretaker prime minister Guy Verhofstadt , head of the defeated Flemish Liberals and Democrats, to form an interim government.
A new coalition government, made up of five French- and Flemish-speaking parties and led by the Flemish Christian Democrat Yves Leterme, finally took power in March In July of that year Leterme offered to step down as prime minister, but the king rejected the resignation. In December Leterme resigned, and Herman Van Rompuy , a fellow Flemish Christian Democrat respected for his skills as a mediator, replaced him as prime minister.
Compelled to fill the post of prime minister yet again, King Albert nominated Leterme, who began his second term—what some called a second chance—on November 25, Not five months later, on April 22, , Leterme tendered his resignation once again, following the withdrawal of the Flemish Liberals and Democrats from the governing coalition.
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In the election that followed in June , the big winners were the separatist New Flemish Alliance, which finished first with 27 seats a gain of 19 seats , and the French-speaking Socialists, who added 6 seats to reach a total of 26 seats. The various parties were unable to come to an agreement as coalition talks continued for more than a year while Leterme oversaw a caretaker administration.
Despite having no formal government, in July Belgium became the second country in the EU to approve legislation that outlawed face coverings such as the Islamic veil. After some days without a government, Belgium was drawn into the debt crisis that had plagued other parts of Europe since Given the length of the political deadlock, lawmakers responded with surprising haste to that development. During a week of intense negotiations, a grand coalition of Christian Democrats, Liberals, and Socialists took shape, with Socialist Elio Di Rupo at its head.
A career politician, Di Rupo had built a reputation as a talented negotiator. Using grenades and an assault rifle , he killed at least three people and wounded dozens of others before taking his own life. Di Rupo presided over a period of relative stability, as Belgium weathered the euro-zone debt crisis far better than a number of its fellow EU member countries.
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In July Albert II , who had represented a significant unifying force throughout his reign, abdicated in favour of his son Philippe. Belgium Article Media Additional Info. Article Contents. Load Previous Page. Federalized Belgium After tensions led to the division of the still bilingual University of Louvain into a Flemish-speaking campus on Flemish territory and a French-speaking campus on Walloon territory in —70, a slow but definitive process of federalization got under way. Would you recommend this place or activity to a friend looking for an exciting and thrill-seeking experience?
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Traveler rating. Selected filters. Ilse W wrote a review Jun Veurne, Belgium 83 contributions 25 helpful votes. Nice place.
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Read more. Date of experience: June