15th 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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • 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.

Belgium breaks own government formation record

Belgium has set a new national record for the longest period without a new government as parties are still trying to bridge their opposing views on state reforms five months after elections. In the meantime, Flemish parties have given their French-speaking counterparts an ultimatum.

Nine Catalan separatist leaders given long jail terms

Spain's Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison for sedition and misuse of public funds over their role in Catalonia's 2017 bid for independence. The possible legal immunity of some MEPs remains unanswered.

Hungarian opposition wins Budapest in blow to Orban

Budapest joins Istanbul and Warsaw by having an opposition mayor to a strongman illiberal leader, after a united opposition serves a shock blow across several towns in local elections in Hungary.

Commission takes Poland to court on eve of election

As Poland's combative Law and Justice party faces elections this Sunday, the commission once again sends a case on its domestic judiciary reforms to the European Court of Justice for breaking EU rules.

EU to better protect journalists, Jourova promises

The current Czech commissioner for justice, Vera Jourova, was approved for the next commission, as she promised to defend democracy from online threats, and to present ideas about reforming future European elections by 2020.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  2. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  3. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  4. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  6. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  10. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  12. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank

Latest News

  1. EU countries to halt arms sales to Turkey
  2. Nine Catalan separatist leaders given long jail terms
  3. Poland's right-wing ruler wins four more years
  4. EU powerless in new Syrian mayhem
  5. Hungarian opposition wins Budapest in blow to Orban
  6. New Dutch terror bill must not target aid workers
  7. EU proposes pesticide ban, but key documents still secret
  8. Brexit nail-biter and EU nominations This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us