Thursday

17th Oct 2019

Majority of French favour union with Wallonia

A majority of French citizens would support a union with the French-speaking Belgian region of Wallonia if Belgium were to cease to exist, according to a new survey.

The survey was conducted by the French weekly Journal du Dimanche on Thursday (8 November), with participants being asked whether they are in favour of an "incorporation" into France of French-speaking regions of Belgium.

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  • A majority of French citizens is in favour of a reunion with the French-speaking south of Belgium (Photo: European Commission)

Of the 958 people polled, 54 percent were "completely" or "rather" in favour of such a secnario, while 41 percent opposed the idea.

In the northern regions of France, geographically near to Wallonia, overall support for a reattachment rises even higher - to 66 percent. One out of twenty remained undecided.

On Wednesday, one day before the survey, Flemish parties used their parliamentary majority to secede the controversial electoral district around Brussels, against the will of their French-speaking counterparts - an event that gained widespread attention in francophone Belgian media.

Currently, Belgian parties are still struggling to form a new government five months down the road since the June elections, remaining at odds over the need for far-reaching state reforms.

It remains to be seen however whether the Walloons themselves - in general staunch supporters of the Belgium - would be in favour of an union with France.

"Even if 100% of the French wished a reattachment, we would say: "You can dance on your head, what is ours will remains ours!", Vincent Piérard, a Walloon internet user commented on a blog by French newspaper Liberation.

"If the Flemings want independence, that they take it. Belgium can exist with Wallonia, Brussels, and the [German-speaking] East Cantons," he added.

Most other Walloon online commentators mirrored this view, though a minority considered it to be the best option in case of a break-up of Belgium.

"France, it is perhaps our destiny. We do not know it yet. It is perhaps also a hope to lead to a project between French-speaking people. It is perhaps also a means of decreasing small localism which is rotting Wallonia," an anonymous commenter said.

Since Napoleon's final defeat in 1815 and the subsequent Congress of Vienna, France and Wallonia have each gone separate ways.

Around 3.4 million people live in Wallonia while around 61 million live in metropolitan France.

In a similar opinion poll taken in August, about two-thirds of Dutch citizens supported a reunion with Flanders.

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