French Community of Belgium

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French Community of Belgium

Communauté française (French)
Flag of Wallonia.svg
Flag
Communaute francaise in Belgium.svg
French Community in Belgium and Europe.svg
Country Belgium
Capital Brussels
Government
  Executive Government of the French Community
  Governing parties (2014–2019) PS, cdH
   Minister-President Rudy Demotte (PS)
  Legislature Parliament of the French Community
  Speaker Philippe Courard  [ fr ] (PS)
Population
  Totalc. 4,200,000
Celebration Day 27 September
Language French
Website www.cfwb.be
The Walloon flag was chosen as flag of the French Community of Belgium in 1975. It was adopted by the Walloon Region in 1998. [1] [2]

In Belgium, the French Community (French : Communauté française; French pronunciation:  [kɔmynote fʁɑ̃sɛːz] ) refers to one of the three constituent constitutional linguistic communities. Since 2011, the French Community has used the name Wallonia-Brussels Federation (French : Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles), which is controversial because its name in the Belgian constitution has not changed and because it is seen as a political statement. The name "French Community" refers to Francophone Belgians, and not to French people residing in Belgium. As such, the French Community of Belgium is sometimes rendered in English as "the French-speaking Community of Belgium" for clarity. [3]

Belgium Federal constitutional monarchy in Western Europe

Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,688 square kilometres (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Constitution of Belgium constitution

The Constitution of Belgium dates back to 1831. Since then Belgium has been a parliamentary monarchy that applies the principles of ministerial responsibility for the government policy and the Trias Politica. The Constitution established Belgium as a centralised unitary state. However, since 1970, through successive state reforms, Belgium has gradually evolved into a federal state.

Contents

The Community has its own parliament, government, and administration. Its official flag is identical to the Walloon Flag, which is also the official flag of the Walloons of Wallonia.

Parliament of the French Community belgian enterprise

The Parliament of the French Community is the legislative assembly of the French Community of Belgium based in the Quartier Royal. It consists of all 75 members of the Walloon Parliament except German-speaking members who are substituted by French-speaking members from the same party, and 19 members elected by the French linguistic group of the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region within the former body. These members are elected for a term of five years.

Government of the French Community

The Cabinet of the French Community of Belgium is the executive branch of the French Community of Belgium, and it sits in Brussels. It consists of a number of ministers chosen by the Parliament of the French Community and is headed by a Minister-President.

Walloons French-speaking people who live in Belgium, principally in Wallonia

Walloons are a Romance ethnic group native to Belgium, principally its southern region of Wallonia, who speak French and Walloon. Walloons are a distinctive ethnic community within Belgium. Important historical and anthropological criteria bind Walloons to the French people.

Wallonia is home to 80% of all Francophone Belgians, with the remaining 20% residing in Brussels, which is the seat of parliament of the French Community.

Brussels Capital region of Belgium

Brussels, officially the Brussels-Capital Region, is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, which is the capital of Belgium. The Brussels-Capital Region is located in the central portion of the country and is a part of both the French Community of Belgium and the Flemish Community, but is separate from the Flemish Region and the Walloon Region. Brussels is the most densely populated and the richest region in Belgium in terms of GDP per capita. It covers 161 km2 (62 sq mi), a relatively small area compared to the two other regions, and has a population of 1.2 million. The metropolitan area of Brussels counts over 2.1 million people, which makes it the largest in Belgium. It is also part of a large conurbation extending towards Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven and Walloon Brabant, home to over 5 million people.

Historically, this community spoke variants of Walloon, Dutch, Picard, Luxembourgish or Moselle Franconian German, but nowadays, the dominant language is overwhelmingly Belgian French, except for some areas alongside the border to the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg (mainly the district called Land of Arlon or Arelerland), where Luxembourgish is still widely spoken.

History of Belgium aspect of history

The history of Belgium extends before the founding of the modern state of that name in 1830. Belgium's history is therefore intertwined with those of its neighbours: the Netherlands, Germany, France and Luxembourg. For most of its history, what is now Belgium was either a part of a larger territory, such as the Carolingian Empire, or divided into a number of smaller states, prominent among them being the Duchy of Brabant, the County of Flanders, the Prince-Bishopric of Liège and County of Luxembourg. Due to its strategic location and the many armies fighting on its soil, since the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), Belgium has often been called the "battlefield of Europe" or the "cockpit of Europe". It is also remarkable as a European nation which contains, and is divided by, a language boundary between Latin-derived French and Germanic Dutch.

Walloon language language

Walloon is a Romance language that is spoken in much of Wallonia in Belgium, in some villages of Northern France and in the northeast part of Wisconsin until the mid 20th century and in some parts of Canada. It belongs to the langue d'oïl language family, whose most prominent member is the French language. The historical background of its formation was the territorial extension since 980 of the Principality of Liège to the south and west.

Dutch language West Germanic language

Dutch(Nederlands ) is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting the majority of people in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is the third most widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German.

Description

The French Community of Belgium includes 4.5 million people, of whom:

French speakers who live in the Flemish Region are not included in the official numbers for the French-speaking Community, since the French Community has no jurisdiction in that region. Their number is unknown, given the absence of sub-nationality status and the discouragement of linguistic criteria in census-taking. Estimates of the French-speaking population of Flanders vary from 120,000, [5] around 200,000, [6] to around 300,000. [7]

The French Community of Belgium makes up about 41% of the total population of Belgium; 58% of the population belongs to the Flemish Community, and 1% to the German-speaking Community.

Alternative name

For years there have been hints that the Community wanted to better demonstrate[ citation needed ] the link between Wallonia and Brussels, the two main territories where the French speakers are in the majority. These include the creation of several organisations such as Wallonie-Bruxelles International, a public body in charge of international cultural affairs set up jointly by the French Community, the Walloon Region and the Commission communautaire française (COCOF, a French-speaking institution of the Brussels-Capital Region). [8] The concept of "Wallonie-Bruxelles" is however not mentioned in the Belgian constitution, and appeared only in a few official legal texts, such as the "Arrêté du Gouvernement de la Communauté française fixant le code de qualité et de l'accueil" of 17 December 2003, mentioning the name "Communauté Wallonie-Bruxelles", and the "Arrêté du Gouvernement de la Communauté française approuvant le programme quinquennal de promotion de la santé 2004–2008" of 30 April 2004, mentioning the name "Communauté française Wallonie-Bruxelles".

In May 2011, the parliament of the Community voted a resolution according to which it would, from then on, use the name "Wallonia-Brussels Federation" (French: "Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles") for all its communications, campaigns and in the administration. The move was immediately interpreted as aggressive by the Flemish authorities, the Minister-President of Flanders announcing he would not recognize the federation as an official body and saying that documents that would be sent by the federation would be unconstitutional and therefore would not exist. [9]

That name also obscures the fact that this institution does not represent the Flemings living in Brussels, nor their local Flemish Community Commission ('Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie', or VGC) nor the Brussels-Capital Region.

While the authorities of the Community acknowledge the fact that the new name is not mentioned in the Belgian Constitution, they insist that their move is not illegal, as long as the new name is used as an additional name for the Community and is not used when it could create a legal issue (such as with the official texts published in the Belgian Official Journal). [10]

Although the then Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme said that the federal government would not use the new name [11] and the Flemish VRT decided not to use the new name in its news programs either, [12] it is used by the French-speaking media, including the RTBF public network, which is fully controlled by the Community. The independent/private media uses both the alternative and the original designation.

In September 2011, the Community adopted a new logo that incorporates its new name.

Politics and government

The French Community of Belgium is governed by the Parliament of the French Community, which selects the executive branch, the Government of the French Community.

Parliament

The Parliament of the French Community (French : Parlement de la Communauté française or PCF) is the legislative assembly of the French Community of Belgium based in the Quartier Royal. It consists of all 75 members of the Walloon Parliament except German-speaking members (currently two) who are substituted by French-speaking members from the same party, and 19 members elected by the French linguistic group of the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region within the former body. These members are elected for a term of five years.

The current President of the Parliament of the French Community is Philippe Courard  [ fr ] (PS).

Current composition (2014–2019)

AffiliationMembers
Socialist Party (PS)36
Reformist Movement (MR)30
Humanist Democratic Centre (cdH)16
Ecolo 6
Francophone Democratic Federalists (FDF)3
Workers' Party of Belgium (PTB-GO!)2
People's Party (PP)1
Total94

Note: Government coalition parties are denoted with bullets (•)

Executive

The Cabinet of the French Community of Belgium (French : Gouvernement de la Communauté française) is the executive branch of the French Community, and it too sits in Brussels. It consists of a number of ministers chosen by the parliament and is headed by a Minister-President.

Following the 25 May 2014 election, the    PS (30 seats) and    CDH (13 seats) parties formed a coalition.

Government of the French Community - Demotte III
PartyNameFunction
PS Rudy Demotte Minister President
PS André Flahaut Minister of Budget
PS Isabelle Simonis Minister of Youth and Equal Rights
PS Rachid Madrane Minister of Youth Aid, Justice and Brussels
PS Jean-Claude Marcourt Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Policy and Media
CDH Joëlle Milquet (until April 2016)Minister of Compulsory Education, Culture and Child Care
CDH Marie-Martine Schyns (from April 2016)Minister of Compulsory Education and School Buildings
CDH Alda Greoli (from April 2016)Minister of Culture, Child Care and Sports
CDH René Collin Minister of Agriculture and Tourism (Minister of Sports until April 2016)

List of Ministers-President of the French Community

Philippe Moureaux (1st term)22 December 1981 – 9 December 1985 PS
Philippe Monfils 9 December 1985 – 2 February 1988 PRL
Philippe Moureaux (2nd term)2 February – 9 May 1988PS
Valmy Féaux17 May 1988 – 7 January 1992PS
Bernard Anselme 7 January 1992 – 4 May 1993PS
Laurette Onkelinx 4 May 1993 – 13 July 1999PS
Hervé Hasquin 13 July 1999 – 19 July 2004PRL
Marie Arena 19 July 2004 – 20 March 2008PS
Rudy Demotte 20 March 2008 – incumbentPS

Religion

In 2016, 63% of residents of Brussels and Wallonia declared themselves Catholics, 15% were practising Catholics and 30% were non-practising Catholics, 23% were Protestant, 4% were Muslim, 2% were of another religion and 26% were non-religious. [13]

Religion in Brussels and Wallonia (2016) [13]

   Protestant (2%)
   Islam (4%)
  Non-religious (26%)
  Other religion (2%)

See also

Notes

  1. "Le Drapeau - Communauté française de Belgique".
  2. Décret déterminant le jour de fête et les emblèmes propres à la Communauté française de Belgique (D. 03-07-1991, M.B. 15-11-1991)
  3. French-speaking Community of Belgium, Université catholique de Louvain
  4. Xavier Deniau, La francophonie, Presses universitaires de France, 1995, page 27
  5. Frédéric Lasserre, Aline Lechaume, Le territoire pensé: géographie des représentations territoriales, Presses de l'Université du Québec, 2005, page 104
  6. Catherine Lanneau, L'inconnue française: la France et les Belges francophones, 1944–1945, Peter Lang Verlagsgruppe, collection: Enjeux internationaux, 2008, page 25
  7. L'année francophone internationale, volume 15, Groupe d'études et de recherches sur la francophonie, Université Laval, 2005, page 25
  8. "Wallonie-Bruxelles International (WBI)".
  9. La nouvelle Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles défraye la chronique, La Libre Belgique, 25 May 2011
  10. Une Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, La Dernière Heure, 5 April 2011
  11. Leterme houdt alleen rekening met benaming in grondwet, De Standaard, 26 May 2011
  12. Ne dites pas "Federatie Wallonië-Brussel" sur la VRT, 7sur7, 29 September 2011
  13. 1 2 lesoir.be (28 January 2016). "75% des francophones revendiquent une identité religieuse". lesoir.be. Retrieved 5 June 2017.

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