A delegation from the Council of Europe sent to Belgium to try to help with the country’s linguistic divide appears to have ruffled feathers already.
The three envoys first met with Charles Picque, the francophone President-Minister of Brussels, irritating local Flemish officials.
Three districts – Crainhem, Wezembeek-Oppem and Linkebeek – are in Dutch-speaking Flanders but have French-speaking majorities. Yet they are not allowed to elect a francophone mayor.
Picque said: “What I think is useful is that we can calmly explain our different points of view to Brussels here, the good relations between us mean we could have explained ourselves better without arguing in front our friends at the Council of Europe.”
Three French-speaking mayors were elected over a year ago but have not been able to take office, leaving the districts in a kind of electoral limbo.