Well, the Belgian’s seem to think they can manage very well without one, thank you very much. Or can they?
The video below was sent to me by a friend a few months ago, around about the same time Belgium was celebrating its first whole year without a federal government.
You see, the Beligan’s have had more leadership changes than the Assyrian Empire. Since 2007, the country has been in a constant state of “political crisis” with coalition after coalition forming and failing one after another. In 2008, things seemed to have settled when that dull as a dishwater economist turned politician, Herman van Rompuy was sworn in as Prime Minister in December. Only to tender his resignation 11 months later when he was chosen – bizarrely I might add – as the first permanent President of the European Council in November 2009.
So Belgium has been managed by a caretaker government ever since. The last general election took place in June 2010. Fifteen months later and they are still no closer to forming a government than they were right after the election. The only other country to have existed this long without a government was war-torn Iraq. As it stands now, Belgium holds the dubious new world record as the country with the longest elapsed time without an official government.
But as you will have no doubt observed after watching the video, given how bureaucratic Belgium is across all facets of everyday life, the local governments and councils more than make up for the lack of any Federal government, which would probably have slowed things down anyway.
When I watched the video, I suddenly realised why Brussels was chosen as the bureaucratic, administrative ans spiritual headquarters of the EU.