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Constitutional conventions: best practice

A huge victory for Belgium's CETA opponents: Paul Magnette's speech

A patched deal allows CETA to pass to the next stage. But Belgium gained important concessions. We translate the historic parliamentary speech by the Minister-president of Wallonia in Namur on October 14, 2016.

Wallonia, CETA and the meaning of 'openness'

For those who believe that open societies are worth protecting and promoting in Europe and beyond, there is a lesson and a warning from the Walloons.

'By talking to one another, we can learn to respect one another'

Anja Van den Durpel is Head of Integration Services at the City of Ghent, tasked with helping integration and soothing community tensions in the diverse Belgian city. Here's how she does it.

"We don’t have a refugee crisis. We have a housing crisis."

With national and European governments in gridlock, the cities themselves have decided to bypass the state level altogether and forge ahead with some very innovative solutions to the crises facing Europe today.

Populism, nationalism and transnationalism

An interview with Benjamin de Cleen, Assistant Professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, on nationalism vs populism in Europe, the Flemish far-right and the limits of the cordon sanitaire.

From the sorrow to the shame of Belgium

The legalisation of this 'newcomer’s statement' is an undeniable step on the slippery slope in the dehumanisation of Europe’s ‘new Jews’. Alarm bells should be ringing.

Bleeding heart liberals and the war on terror

Demonisation is used by the right to prevent the left actually opposing the war on terror with more than platitudes; criminalisation is used by the state against those against its crimes.

The other of the others am I: risk and alterity in the Brussels attacks

An excess of security may not only increase paranoia, but can also make the ‘otherness’ much harder.  Português, Nederlands, Español

Iraq and Syria didn’t create ISIS - we did

After the Paris attacks, ISIS became yesterday’s story, as if the terrorist movement had disappeared into far lands not able to affect our lives any more.

Manifesto for civil liberties

The origins of the manifesto, its elaboration and dissemination, followed by a brief history of the struggle for civil liberties in Europe and the main threats to those freedoms. Español

Plan Canal in Brussels: Belgium vs Molenbeek

The Belgian government has unveiled a multi-million euro plan to combat radical extremism in 'Molenbeekistan'. But does it ignore Islam altogether?

Democracy and belonging

In 2006, a conversation before a large audience in Rotterdam on the role that Muslims should play in European societies took place, between Dyab Abou Jahjah, then president of the Arab European League with its Antwerp headquarters, and Tariq Ramadan. openDemocracy’s Editor was there. Archive.

Blame games

The perpetrators of the attacks on the London Underground in 2005 were also born and raised in Britain. So much for the British-French dichotomy.

A tragédia interminável do dia de Colombo

A celebração do Dia de Cristóvão Colombo não e aceitável. A colonização trouxe consigo uma imensa tragédia que há que começar a recordar. English. Español.

Heysel: 30 years on

A reflection on the thirtieth anniversary of the Heysel Stadium disaster - one of football's worst tragedies.

Belgian jihadists in Syria: alienation, consumption, power

Politicians are flexing their muscles and alienated youngsters are defiantly posting their Syrian ‘adventures’ online, but in the meantime the rule of law is being eroded without much notice.  

Lea's story: my days as a mad girl

In immaculate clinics people are segregated, held down, drugged, often with no other purpose than to control them and get them out of the way. Content warning: eating disorders, self harm, medical abuse.

A federal House of Cards: the Belgian political landscape following the 2014 regional and federal elections

How was the new Belgian government formed? And how long will it survive for?

The Burqa ban and its vigilante proponents

A Belgian civil servant is in trouble for injuring a Qatari princess by ripping off her veil in public. What is it about the "burqa ban" that inspires such vigilante justice?

A post-World Cup glow for Belgium?

The success of the Belgian national team at the 2014 World Cup has briefly united Flemish and Walloon speakers, but will this have any effect on the country's increasingly fractious identity politics?

The neo-Athenian revival: citizen participation in the twenty-first century

Looking back at the year 2013, one small, symbolic event stands out as a clear demonstration of a slow, quiet trend over the last decade, which one could call a 'New French Revolution.'

The radicalisation of Flemish nationalism

The polarising strategy of the Flemish movement’s biggest political party places next year’s “mother of all elections” in Belgium on a knife-edge.

Are smaller avenues of collective self-determination emerging out of the crisis?

Is national citizenship still a valid organizational factor in the context of the crisis? A radical re-thinking of political citizenship, based on smaller entities such as Catalonia, Scotland or Flanders, may emerge as a reaction to growing imbalances.

The constitutionality of the Belgian burqa ban

On 6 December 2012, the Belgian Constitutional Court held that the 2011 so-called “burqa ban” does not violate the Belgian Constitution. A boundary is crossed when rights of individuals are simply sacrificed to majority sentiments; a boundary which should be protected by institutions such as the Court.

Will Catalonia secede?

The independentist inclinations of Catalonia, Scotland or Flanders define a dominant political zeitgeist in Europe – the dismantling of large territorial units. And this is why they will ultimately succeed.

How small countries can save the European project: the rise of the habitat-nation

The European project is failing. It is time to consider a new theoretical model beyond the nation-state: smaller, localized communities, "habitat-nations", are the building blocks for a revitalized and democractic pan-European project.

Flemish nationalism: a new landscape

The results of Belgium's local elections has brought victory in the northern Flanders region to the conservative and nationalist but democratic New Flemish Alliance. This represents the transformation of Flemish nationalism, says Cas Mudde.

The pornography of equality

The silence of our politicians on women’s security in public spaces is in striking contrast to their tremendous responsiveness to the sight of brown men insulting white women. The real problem is that in western society women’s equality and women’s pornographization have gone hand-in-hand.

Security and the radical right in Flanders

Security has been a major theme in the rhetoric of the Vlaams Block/Belang since the late 1980s. Their combination of strong anti-immigrant statements and simplistic proposals has been appropriated by mainstream parties in Belgium.

Belgium bans 'burqa'

Belgium’s law banning the face-veil and other forms of face covering is badly drafted, unnecessary, and counter-productive

Belgium: blame the chubby nationalist

The creation of a new Belgian government seems as unlikely as the Red Devils ever winning the World Cup. Bart de Wever, leader of the nationalist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), receives much of the blame, but representatives from all political parties across the language frontier are unable to bridge the ever wider gap between north and south

The coordinated attack on multiculturalism

Centre-right parties across Europe are announcing the failure of multiculturalism. We are witnessing a co-ordinated revival of Enoch Powell's idea of the aggressive outsider out to dominate the rest; only now race and immigration are being played out on the terrain of culture and religion

Old and new demagoguery: the rhetoric of exclusion

Right-wing populist parties tend to be anti-multinational and anti-intellectual: they endorse nationalistic, nativist, and chauvinistic beliefs, embedded - explicitly or coded - in common sense appeals to a presupposed shared knowledge of ‘the people’.

Migrants in Brussels – against the odds

Migrant women especially face extreme discrimination in Brussels. But they don’t necessarily see it that way.

One asylum seeker in Belgium: Part Three

In March 2010, over 400 Macedonian asylum seekers arrived in Belgium. Many have since returned to Macedonia. Most are now considerably worse off. Parts One and Two.
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