BRUSSELS — Saying that its entire southern region is unmotivated and has no idea what it wants to do in life, a flustered Belgium has asked its ex-spouse Luxembourg to take care of Wallonia for a few years.
“It’s true, we wanted to have Wallonia live with us after the [19th century] separation, but we can’t do it anymore,” Belgium said in a letter delivered on Thursday. “We just can’t.”
“Wallonia isn’t a bad region, and it has great roadside fripperies and some of its beer is quite okay,” said MP Norbert De Smet, who drafted the request for a temporary transfer of custody. “It’s just that it stays in bed all day, totally unmotivated, and it refuses to listen to us.”
“We keep telling it, you’ve got to get up and do something,” De Smet said. “Don’t you want to be like Flanders, Belgium’s economic powerhouse and home to its cultural legacy and top universities?”
The request was delivered via courier along with six 50-euro notes and a promise to take Wallonia back in a few years when it has grown up.
Marleen Peters, a professor at KU Leuven and an expert on Wallonia’s shortcomings, says spending a few years in the Grand Duchy could be exactly what the lethargic French-speaking area needs.
“All this time Wallonia could have been building its own Bruges or Ghent, or coming up with a clever way to create some beaches, which would attract tourists, but what do they have?” she said. “Two little airports and a village that’s only famous for being the place where Napoleon lost.”
She advises Wallonia to look at Luxembourg, which used to be just a bunch of potato farmers but now is rich.
“It’s time to be sensible,” she said. “Think about getting into banking and finance. Luxembourg will tell you all about it. Or try to develop a diamond cutting industry, like what we have in Antwerp.”
“Or what the hell, at least be creative and try to do something you enjoy, like hip hop or telecommunications or porn, I don’t know,” she added. “What I do know is this: making waffles won’t get you very far.”