New York Times: “Belgium: world’s wealthiest failed state?”

In America the New York Times reports on the resignation of the mayor of the City of Brussels, who pocketed funds intended for the homeless, but seizes on this affair to direct the spotlight onto the wealth of scandals in Belgian politics.

Mr Mayeur had to go after he lined his pocket with funds that members of the public at large had donated under the erroneous impression that they would benefit the homeless. The monies were paid for attendance at meetings that may or may not have taken place.

The New York Times's Milan Schreuer claims that the scandal characterises the state of Belgian democracy: power is divided along regional and linguistic lines between federal, regional and provincial authorities. (Somewhat like in the US we gather.)

Milan Schreuer says some critics believe that the complex nature of our government has turned Belgium into the world's most prosperous failed state! The newspaper dishes up scandals from both North and South of the linguistic divide including one involving a former editor-in-chief at VRT News.

Historian Marc Reynebeau is allowed to explain: "“These ethically dubious practices have been part of the old-fashioned way of doing politics in Belgium for decades. There is a rising distrust of politicians, suspicion of corruption, and sensitivity to scandals, and so we’re seeing more and more of these scandals returning lately. This hangs together with the wave of populism we’re seeing in the rest of Europe.”

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