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05/12/2016

The Brief: Brussels Bubble’s Belgium-bashing is rude and revolting

The Brief: Brussels Bubble’s Belgium-bashing is rude and revolting

The Brief is EurActiv.com's evening newsletter.

BRUSSELS BUBBLE’S BELGIUM-BASHING IS RUDE AND REVOLTING

It’s time for the Brussels Bubble to stop the Belgium-bashing. The latest outbreak of this unsightly epidemic came last week, after the Walloons blocked the CETA trade agreement with Canada.

Some turned their impotent rage on Belgium itself. This contempt comes out every now and again, most memorably and sickeningly after the terrorist bombings in March.

“Belgium is a failed state,” Brussels Bubblers whined, “the escalator at my subway never works.”

“I saw some soldiers smoking in the metro,” they bawled, ignoring the fact that guard duty is tedious, worthy work that more than deserves a crafty cigarette.

Expats here have a long list of pathetic complaints they are all too ready to wheel out.

“The shops are closed on Sunday…it’s too bureaucratic….what is with the customer service?”, they mewl and quail.

“There are too many strikes,” the spoilt whingers lament, “the sun isn’t shining.”

This self-obsessed attitude is shared by some in the EU institutions, and many lobbyists, journalists and other assorted hangers-on and parasites in Brussels.

Even if they all paid their taxes in Belgium (they don’t), it would still reek of a revolting sense of entitlement and elitism.

Belgium is not here for your convenience, you odious fools, it is a country that has offered you a home and place of work.

Most importantly, Belgium-bashing is just plain bad manners. What guest walks into a home, sits down and starts criticising the curtains?

There are great things about Belgium. The beer, the food, the vertical archery, statues of massive ducks in scuba gear, the generosity of its people and their tolerance of ungrateful expats.

Try this moaning in France or Britain and you’d rightly end up in hospital.

The Belgians are too polite and patient to say it. But I will.

If you don’t like Belgium, why don’t you go back to your own country?

 

THE ROUNDUP

Brace yourself for the thud of toys being thrown out of the pram. The Walloons are not bowing to the EU deadline to sign CETA. Hopefully, Justin Trudeau got travel insurance because it looks like he won’t be coming to Brussels after all.

No wonder Germany’s foreign minister thinks the EU is going to the dogs. Deutschland, by the way, is showing some signs of protectionism as it looks to curb Chinese investment.

Meanwhile Italy’s economy minister is warning of impending doom for the bloc, and Hungary’s Orbán is banging on about Brussels plotting the “Sovietisation” of the EU.

More cheerfully, Spain has got a brand new government. It’s led by a fresh, new face in Spanish politics called Mariano Rajoy. The Peasants and Green Union party has, in the meantime, triumphed in Lithuania.

Britain’s Theresa May is meeting the leaders of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to talk Brexit. It must make a nice change being listened to, after being ignored in Brussels last week.

The Civitas think tank claims EU exporters will lose billions of euros if the bloc doesn’t agree trade terms with the UK post-Brexit.

Refugees have attacked the European Asylum Support Office in Lesbos. The Jungle migrant camp is being dismantled in France, but the fate of child refugees is uncertain. Child refugees in Turkey are making clothes for UK shops.

Greens co-chair Monica Frassoni believes the Italian government is losing support because it can’t convince Europe to do more about the migration crisis.

Margrethe Vestager is nearing a settlement with Gazprom after a five-year antitrust probe, according to the Financial Times. In other fossil fuel news, the French have dropped plans for a carbon tax on coal.

Meanwhile, the Austrian far-right is in trouble with church leaders for “instrumentalising” God. The Economist has a good piece on Ecodesign and terrible toasters.

And what is it with the European Parliament and trains? If it isn’t free Interrail tickets, they are coming up with this legislative train timetable thingy. It raises an important question – how much did it cost the taxpayer?

Here’s Europe’s network of alliances re-imagined as a metro system. And there’s good news for the EU but bad news for pigs

LOOK OUT FOR…

The European Parliament’s second day of plenary in Strasbourg. Expect debates on the EU mechanism on democracy and the rule of law, rail transport statistics, and the Commission’s 2017 Work Programme. Most interesting is likely to be discussion on the EU budget for next year and the mid-term revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework.

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