Federalism with two components
Federalism in the Kingdom of Belgium is an evolving system. Belgian federalism reflects both the linguistic communities (French and Dutch, and to a lesser extent German) and the economic regions (Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia). These correspond to the language areas in Belgium. Although officially there are three language areas, for all practical purposes only two languages are relevant on the federal level, Dutch and French: Brussels is officially a bilingual area, but it has a French-speaking majority. Flanders is the region associated with the Belgium's Dutch-speaking majority, i.e. the Flemish Community. Due to its relatively small size (approximately one percent) the German-speaking Community of Belgium does not have much influence on national politics. Wallonia is a French-speaking area, except for the East Cantons. French is the second most spoken first language in Belgium, following Dutch. Within the French-speaking Community of Belgium, there is a geographical and political distinction between Wallonia and Brussels for historical and sociological reasons. On one hand, this means that the Belgian political landscape, generally speaking, consists of only two components: the Dutch-speaking population represented by Dutch-language political parties, and the majority populations of Wallonia and Brussels, represented by their French-speaking parties. The Brussels region emerges as a third component. This specific dual form of federalism, with the special position of Brussels, consequentially has a number of political issuesЧeven minor onesЧthat are being fought out over the Dutch/French-language political division. With such issues, a final decision is possible only in the form of a compromise. This tendency gives this dual federalism model a number of traits that generally are ascribed to confederalism, and makes the future of Belgian federalism contentious. On the other hand, Belgian federalism is federated with three components. An affirmative resolution concerning Brussels' place in the federal system passed in the parliaments of Wallonia and Brussels. These resolutions passed against the desires of Dutch-speaking parties, who are generally in favour of a federal system with two components (i.e. the Dutch and French Communities of Belgium). However, the Flemish representatives in the Parliament of the Brussels Capital-Region voted in favour of the Brussels resolution, with the exception of one party. The chairman of the Walloon Parliament stated on July 17, 2008 that, "Brussels would take an attitude". Brussels' parliament passed the resolution on July 18, 2008: The Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region approves with great majority a resolution claiming the presence of Brussels itself at the negotiations of the reformation of the Belgian State. July 18, 2008 This aspect of Belgian federalism helps to explain the difficulties of partition; Brussels, with its importance, is linked to both Wallonia and Flanders and vice-versa. This situation, however, does not erase the traits of a confederation in the Belgian system.