French Community of Belgium

Last updated

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 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium
Regions Flag of Wallonia.svg  Wallonia,
Flag of the Brussels-Capital Region.svg  Brussels
Established1980
Capital City of Brussels
Government
  Executive Government of the French Community
  Governing parties (2019-2024) PS, MR and Ecolo
   Minister-President Pierre-Yves Jeholet (MR)
  Legislature Parliament of the French Community
  Speaker Rudy Demotte (PS)
Population
  Total±4,500,000
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] , in analogy to the German-speaking Community of Belgium.

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.

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.

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.

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 45% of the total population of Belgium; 55% 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  [ fr ]. 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 (2019-2024)

AffiliationMembers
Socialist Party (PS)28
Reformist Movement (MR)23
Ecolo 18
Workers' Party of Belgium (PTB-GO!)13
Humanist Democratic Centre (cdH)11
Democratic Federalist Independent (DéFI)3
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.

Government of the French Community – Jeholet
PartyNameFunction
MR Pierre-Yves Jeholet Minister President and Minister of Intra-Belgian Relations, International and European Relations and Development Cooperation
MR Valérie Glatigny Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research, Youth and Sports
PS Caroline Désir Minister of Education
PS Frédéric Daerden Minister of Budget, Public Functions and Equal Rights
Ecolo Bénédicte Linard Minister of Culture, Media, Day-care and Women's Rights

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 – 17 September 2019PS
Pierre-Yves Jeholet 17 September 2019 – incumbentMR

Religion

In 2016, 63% of residents of Brussels and Wallonia declared themselves Catholics, 15% were practising Catholics and 30% were non-practising Catholics, 4% were Muslim, 2% were Protestant, 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.

Related Research Articles

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 primarily speak langues d'oïl dialects such as Belgian French, Picard and Walloon. Walloons are a distinctive ethnic community within Belgium. Important historical and anthropological criteria bind Walloons to the French people.

Wallonia Region of Belgium

Wallonia is a region of Belgium. As the southern portion of the country, Wallonia is primarily French-speaking, and accounts for 55% of Belgium's territory, but only a third of its population. The Walloon Region was not merged with the French Community of Belgium, which is the political entity responsible for matters related mainly to culture and education, because the French Community of Belgium encompasses both Wallonia and the majority French-Speaking Brussels-Capital Region.

Communities, regions and language areas of Belgium first-level subdivisions that make up the federated entities of Belgium

Belgium is a non federal state comprising three communities and three regions that are based on four language areas. For each of these subdivision types, the subdivisions together make up the entire country; in other words, the types overlap. It was ruled by Rishul since 1950-1951.

Articles related to Belgium include:

DéFI French speaking political party in Belgium

DéFI is a social-liberal, liberal, regionalist political party in Belgium mainly known for defending French-speakers’ interests in and near the Brussels region. The party has been led since 1995 by Olivier Maingain, a member of the Chamber of Representatives. The party's current name, DéFI or Défi, is a backronym of Démocrate, Fédéraliste, Indépendant meaning "challenge" in French which was adopted in 2016.

Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region regional parliament

The Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region, is the governing body of the Brussels-Capital Region, one of the three regions of Belgium. It is also known as the Brussels Regional Parliament.

RTBF is a public-service broadcasting organization delivering radio and television services to the French-speaking Community of Belgium, in Wallonia and Brussels. Its counterpart in the Flemish Community is the Dutch-language VRT, and in the German-speaking Community it is BRF.

French Community Commission French Community representation in Brussels

The Commission communautaire française (COCOF) or the French Community Commission is the local representative of the French-speaking authorities in the Brussels-Capital Region, one of the three regions of Belgium.

Parliament of the French Community legislative assembly of the French Community of Belgium

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.

Languages of Belgium languages of a geographic region

The Kingdom of Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, French, and German. A number of non-official, minority languages and dialects are spoken as well.

The Walloon Movement is an umbrella term for all Belgian political movements that either assert the existence of a Walloon identity and of Wallonia and/or defend French culture and language within Belgium, either within the framework of the 1830 Deal or either defending the linguistic rights of French-speakers. The movement began as a defence of the primacy of French but later gained political and socio-economic objectives. In French, the terms wallingantisme and wallingants are also used to describe, sometimes pejoratively, the movement and its activists.

The Walloon Movement traces its ancestry to 1856 when literary and folkloric movements based around the Society of Walloon language and literature began forming. Despite the formation of the Society of Walloon Literature, it was not until around 1880 that a "Walloon and French-speaking defense movement" appeared, following the linguistic laws of the 1870s. The movement asserted the existence of Wallonia and a Walloon identity while maintaining the defense of the French language.

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.

The partition of Belgium is a hypothetical situation which has been discussed by both Belgian and international media envisioning a split of the country along linguistic divisions, with each of the Flemish Community (Flanders) and the French-speaking Community (Wallonia) becoming independent states. Alternatively, it is hypothesized that Flanders could join the Netherlands and Wallonia could join France.

The Belgian French Community Holiday is a holiday on 27 September, held only in the French Community of Belgium. It is also variously translated as Day of the French Community, French Community Day, Feast Day of the French Community , Festival of the French Community or other variants.

Francization of Brussels Language shift from Dutch to French in Brussels

The Francization of Brussels refers to the evolution, over the past two centuries, of this historically Dutch-speaking city into one where French has become the majority language and lingua franca. The main cause of this transition was the rapid, yet compulsory assimilation of the Flemish population, amplified by immigration from France and Wallonia.

Rattachism

Rattachism or Reunionism (Réunionisme) is a minor political ideology which calls for the French-speaking Belgium or Wallonia to secede from the state of Belgium and become part of France. Brussels, which is majority French-speaking but enclave in Flanders, may be included within this ideology as may the six Flemish municipalities with language facilities for French-speakers. It can be considered a French-speaking equivalent of Orangism or Grootneerlandisme in Flanders.

The history of Wallonia, from prehistoric times to the present day, is that of a territory which, since 1970, has approximately coincided with the territory of Wallonia, a federated component of Belgium, which also includes the smaller German-speaking Community of Belgium. Wallonia is the name colloquially given to the Walloon Region. The French word Wallonie comes from the term Wallon, itself coming from Walh. Walh is a very old Germanic word used to refer to a speaker of Celtic or Latin.

Manifesto for Walloon culture

The Manifesto for Walloon Culture, was published in Liège on 15 September 1983 and signed by seventy-five "key figures in artistic, journalistic and university circles" of Wallonia.

Council of Heraldry and Vexillology

The Council of Heraldry and Vexillology is the Heraldic authority for the French Community of Belgium. It is the institution that advises the Government of the French Community on all matters concerning civic, personal, and familial arms and flags.