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Stabenow, Michael

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2 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - Germany | 07/10/2008

Flemish and Walloons pull themselves together

The otherwise feuding Flemish and Walloon communities in Belgium are acting jointly to face the current financial crisis. This offers a shimmer of hope for the country's reform process, writes the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Prime Minister Yves Leterme's Christian Democratic and Flemish party (CD&V) has indicated its willingness to compromise, notes the paper: "Eight months prior to the regional elections, Leterme's party has shown a readiness for both risk and responsibility in declining to dance to the tune of the separatists and opting for dialogue. Leterme and Kris Peeters, the Minister-President of Flanders, were well aware that a failure of the present mediation attempts would cast doubts on whether Belgium can be ruled at all. The move comes at a time when the state budget is threatened with a lack of more than five billion euros, and most Belgians are worried not about this or that regional jurisdiction but about their own well-being in what recent days have shown to be a precarious economic environment."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - Germany | 27/02/2008

Verhofstadt pulls off a Belgian compromise

Belgium's Flemish and Walloon citizens have agreed on a phased reform of the country's constitutional structure. Michael Stabenow sees this development as a gift from Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, who plans to leave office this coming Easter. "Still, the arrangement bears the typical marks of a 'compromis à la belge', the balancing of interests that has influenced domestic policy up to now and only allows slow progress. ... It is one thing for Flemish politicians to deplore the self-interested mentality of the Walloon south when it comes to public welfare benefits. But it's another thing entirely if Flanders benefits from the failure of the Walloon economy, which is tied to that of the northern area, to take off. This insight, too, is part of the political legacy of Guy Verhofstadt, who is now transferring to European politics."

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