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Belgium

Yearbook 2000

2000 BelgiumBelgium. The new millennium started well for Belgium. According to COUNTRYAAH, the Belgian economy, which for many years has lagged behind in the European Union, grew by almost 4% in 2000. Unemployment fell to 8.6%, which is below the EU average. During the year, the Rainbow Coalition, made up of liberals, environmentalists and socialists, presented bold programs on social reforms, tax cuts and administrative changes to keep the strong economic growth alive.

2000 Belgium

But Belgium would not be Belgium if there had not been any dark events every year. The dark event in 2000 was the municipal election on October 8, where the racist right-wing party Vlaams Blok had great success in several cities in Flanders. In Antwerp, Vlaams Blok received no less than 33% and in Ghent 20% of the votes.

The result in the municipal elections is in bad shape with the government's hard line earlier in the year against Austria. Belgium was at the forefront of the EU boycotting Austria, since the xenophobic Freedom Party was part of the coalition government. Unlike in Austria, the democratic parties in Belgium have so far refused to compromise with the Vlaam Blok. The racist party is therefore not represented in either the government or any municipality.

However, the election reflects that racism is widespread in Belgium. According to the EU's annual Eurobarometer opinion poll, published in the fall, 27% of Belgians believe the presence of another breed is "disruptive". It is the highest figure in the EU. However, the government hopes that the reforms presented during the year will defeat the racist sentiments in the country.

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