Walloon Region


Walloon Region

Infobox Belgium Region
name = Walloon Region
"Région wallonne" fr icon
"Wallonische Region" de icon



emblem = Coat of arms of Wallonia (Belgium).svg
language = French
language2 = German
capital = Namur
area = formatnum:16844
ISO = BE-WAL
web = [http://www.wallonie.be/ www.wallonie.be]
TypePop1 = Total
Population1 = 3,413,978
DatePop1 = January 1, 2006
density = 202
ministerpresident = Rudy Demotte
anthem = Le Chant des Wallons
celebrationday = 3rd Sunday of September
location = Wallonia in Belgium and the European Union.svg
divisions = WalloniëProvincies.png

The Walloon Region, commonly called Wallonia, is one of the three Regions of Belgium. It represents 33% of the population and 55% of the territory of Belgium. The region is predominantly French-speaking but there are also German-speaking municipalities in the east (2% of the population). Its official languages are French and German. As the other regions, the Walloon Region has its own parliament and government and exercises its functions by the limits defined by the Belgian constitution. Wallonia owns also the "Treaty-Making Policy" as the other Belgian entities, an exception, followwing Philippe Suinen, among the Federal States, and, as pointing out recently by Michel Quévit professor emeritus at the Université Catholique de Louvain, a quasi State [Philippe Suinen, Une première mondiale in Le Monde dioplomatique, octobre 2000 [http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2000/10/SUINEN/14406.html] Michel Quévit [http://ddata.over-blog.com/xxxyyy/0/18/96/12/Blog-c.thayse-Michel-QUEVIT--REFORMES-INSTITUTIONELLES-08-08.pdf] ] : "From 1831, the year of Belgium's independence, until the federalization of the country in 1970, Wallonia has increasingly asserted itself as a region in its own right." [ [Official Website of the Walloon Region http://www.wallonie.be/en/discover-wallonia/history/index.html] ]

Its capital is Namur.

Geography

The territory of the Walloon Region is defined by the Belgian constitution: "The Walloon region is made up of the following provinces: The Walloon Brabant, Hainaut, Liège, Luxemburg and Namur." [A version of the Belgian constitution in English can be found on the [http://www.fed-parl.be/constitution_uk.html Website of the federal government] ]

This territory of formatnum:16844 km² (55.18% of Belgium) occupying the southern part of Belgium is also divided into 20 administrative arrondissements and 262 municipalities.

Administrative divisions

The Walloon Region has an area of 16,844 km² (55.18% of Belgium) and comprises the following provinces (see map right):

#Walloon Brabant
#Hainaut
#Liège
#Luxembourg
#Namur

Attributions

The constitutional system of Belgium grants the Walloon Region its own legislative and executive powers in the fields for which it is competent:

*agriculture and rural renewal
*development of the territory and town planning
*economy and foreign trade
*employment and vocational training
*the environment, water and nature conservation
*housing
*local authorities, subsidized works and sports infrastructures
*scientific research, new technologies and energy
*international relations
*health and social affairs
*tourism and heritage
*regional transport, mobility and public works.

Emblems

Since July 15, 1998, the Walloon Region has had as emblems a coat of arms, a flag, an anthem and a "national" day, though it is not an independent nation.

According to a decree of the 28rd July 2008 [ [http://wallex.wallonie.be/index.php?doc=5901&rev=5180-2820 Decree 23rd July 1998, art. 2] , the arms are Gold, a bold rooster Gules; they shall be designed according to the model shown in annex 1 of the decree. The bold rooster of these arms can be used separately as the symbol of the Region.

The flag is a "coq hardi de gueule sur fond d'or", "a bold red rooster on gold", designed by Pierre Paulus in 1913, and adopted in July 1998. [cite web |url=http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/be-wal.html |title=Wallonia - Walloon Region (Belgium) |work=Flags Of The World] It is also the flag of the French Community of Belgium and they share the same "national" day, 27 September. The anthem is "Le Chant des Wallons" ("the Walloons' song"), written by Theophile Bovy in 1900 and composed by Louis Hillier in 1901.

There is also a logo: a red “W arrow” with the baseline “WALLOON REGION”.

Cities

The largest cities in the region include, as of 2007's population figures: [http://www.world-gazetteer.com/wg.php?x=&men=gcis&lng=en&des=gamelan&dat=200&srt=pnan&col=aohdqcfbeimg&geo=-30]
*Charleroi (199,612)
*Liège (180,831)
*Namur (106,770)
*Mons (91,367)
*La Louvière (76,657)
*Tournai (67,944)
*Seraing (60,878)
*Verviers (52,646)
*Mouscron (51,866)

Politics

Since 23 April 1993, Belgium has been a federal state, geographically split into three regions and linguistically split into three communities. The Walloon Region is one of the three (southern region, mainly French-speaking, with a population of 3,360,000), the two others being the Flemish Region (northern region, Dutch-speaking, with a population of 5,900,000) and the Brussels-Capital Region (bilingual French/Dutch with French majority, with a population of 980,000).

The Walloon region has a parliament (one chamber with 75 members elected for five years by direct universal suffrage) and a government responsible in front of the parliament. Its parliament exercices two functions:
*It discusses and passes decrees, and they can take initiatives to draw them up. After this, decrees are sanctioned and promulgated by the Walloon government.
*It controls the Walloon government. Control is exercised via the vote.

The government of Walloon is directed by a political majority. The government numbers nine members with the president. Each member is called a "ministre".

The composition of the parliament for the 2004-2009 legislature is as follows:
* "Parti Socialiste" (socialist party) : 34
* "Mouvement Réformateur" (liberal democrats, center right) : 20
* "Centre Démocrate Humaniste" (former Christian party) : 14
* "Front national" ("nationalist" party) : 4
* "Ecolo" (green party) : 3

The head of the government, called "Ministre-Président", is Rudy Demotte, member of the Parti Socialiste (PS).

Economy

The Walloon economy experienced a strong development in the 19th century, especially in the regions of Liège and Charleroi, the so-called Sillon industriel. Belgium was then the first country in continental Europe to undergo an industrial revolution in the early 1800s, mainly based on the iron and coal industries, which were both abundant in Wallonia. In 1842 John Cockerill (1790-1840), a British entrepreneur, founded the company Cockerill-Sambre, which would become one of the major producers of steel in Europe. Raoul Warocqué (1870-1917), who made the coal mines of Mariemont a success, was the wealthiest person in Belgium.

The profitability of these types of heavy industries started declining in the first half of the 20th century, which saw the center of industrial activity shift to the northern part of Belgium. Wallonia would be surpassed in economical development by Flanders only in the 1960s, when industrial production in the northern part of Belgium would catch up with Wallonia. The crisis in the steel industry led to a painful economic restructuring in Wallonia. Wallonia switched places with Flanders, regarding economical development. In 2004, the GDP per capita was €27,356 in Flanders, and €19,858 in Wallonia.Fact|date=May 2007

The current Walloon economy is relatively diversified, although certain areas (especially around Charleroi and Liège) are still suffering from the steel industry crisis, with a high unemployment rate of up to 30% in some regions, while the south of the region, bordering Luxembourg benefits from its neighbour's economic prosperity, with a lot of Belgians working on the other side of the border (called "frontaliers").The restoration of economical development is high on the political agenda.

The Ardennes area south of the Meuse River is a popular tourist destination with a rich cultural heritage, with places such as Bastogne, Dinant, Durbuy, and the famous balneotherapy of Spa.

Science and technology

See also

* List of Ministers-President of the Walloon Region
* TEC, Walloon public transport company.
* Walloon Parliament
* Regional Investment Company of Wallonia
* SOWALFIN

External links

* [http://www.wallonie.be/en/home.shtml Official gateway to the Walloon Region]

References


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