The last multilingual vestige of the Habsburg Empire, is Belgium also destined to split along the lines traced by language borders? Is the least painful way forward to create a confederation of the Flemish and Walloon nations with Brussels free to opt for one or the other? Or is the Belgian federation capable of showing to Europe and to the world that democracy and solidarity are viable within irreversibly multilingual entities? If so, how?

A philosopher and economist, Philippe Van Parijs is professor emeritus at the UCL.