Belgium is in trouble. It's been more than a year since the last elections, and still there is no government, no agreement between parties and communities. There is only uncertainty about the future, nobody knows what will happen next. My guess is the same as most people : nothing will happen in the (near) future.
So let's keep it simple and take a look at the problems that exist (please add missing problems, a follow-up post with simple solutions will follow).
Problem: What to do with Brussels ?!
Many people talk about splitting Belgium in two or more parts. Independence will solve all problems (yeah right). But nobody has a good solution on where our capital fits in such a scenario.
Brussels is an island in Flanders, completely surrounded by (officially) Flemish communities. But Brussels has only a small minority of native Dutch (aka Flemish) speaking inhabitants.
In the present situation, Brussels is suffocated by artificial boundaries. One example is Strombeek-bever. Strombeek-bever is a community that is part of Brussels in a structural/economical/regional/physical sense, but it belongs to Flanders in a legal/official/bureaucratical sense.
Problem: Languages ?!
Most Belgians are native Dutch speaking (65%) or native French speaking (35%). Some native Flemish regions contain French minorities and vice versa. These minorities are annoyed, teased, even pestered with irrational language demands. Some people are not allowed to use their native language in their own country ?! Add to this minor annoyances like road signs (Liege/Luik/Luttich, Antwerpen/Anvers, Geldenaken/Jodoigne...) that are confusing for everyone!
Problem: Too many governments ?!
Belgium has a King, a federal government, some regional (Flanders, Brussels, Wallonia) governments, some community (French, Flemish, German) governments, a bunch of provincial (ten provinces since the Brabant split) governments. This besides hundreds of municipalities. So who is responsible for what ? The paperwork to get anything done is too much, and most people complain about getting the right documents from the right organization (think Kafka or Task 8).
Problem: Too many political parties ?!
About a gazillion little parties participated in the last elections, resulting in none of them getting more than about ten percent of votes. Add to this that those getting the most votes are cartels (temporary alliances between different parties). A minimum of five to eight parties need to agree before any government can be formed.
Problem: Cultural differences ?!
Not a big problem in itself (cultural differences enrich a country!), but it occupies the minds of many Belgians. Expressions like "Walloons are lazy!" or "Too much money is transferred from Flanders to Wallonia!" are common. People always blame someone and Belgians tend to blame the other (language) side of being irrational or being the cause of problems.
Hint: The same would happen in an independent Flanders, so let's quickly get rid of the "Westhoek" and "de Limburgers"...and so on...until you stand all alone in the world and can only blame yourself!
Problem: What to do with Europe ?!
Europe poses some problems for Belgium. First, it adds another layer to the government (oh no). Second, people tend to forget great European achievements (like the euro!). Instead they complain about politicians going to Europe (like it is their pension and they do nothing there but relax) and they complain about the European rules.
Europe is also a threat to Belgium as a state. In the (far?) future, Europe will have one European government and many cultural regions. We can keep the countries for the World Cup and the Olympics, but any real responsibility should go to Europe and only cultural/recreational/tourist stuff should belong to a regional level.
Anything else in Belgium that poses a big problem, or that causes the current situation ?