Country Risk

Spanish constitutional crisis increases government instability in Belgium, independence vote in Flanders remains unlikely in one-year outlook

03 November 2017

Key Points

  • Although recent developments in Catalonia are causing intra-coalition divisions in the Belgian government, a break-up of the current administration remains unlikely.
  • Neither a legal nor a Catalan-style unconstitutional vote on independence in Flanders is likely to be organised in the current administrative term.
  • The issue of Flemish independence is likely to re-emerge ahead of the general election in 2019 if the nationalist New Flemish Alliance (Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie: N-VA) decides to end the current agreement to temporarily set aside its independence agenda.
  • Belgium’s overall business environment is unlikely to be significantly affected by temporarily heightened levels of government instability, and current tax and labour market reforms are likely to go ahead.


The temporary move of ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to Brussels is a test for Belgium’s government due to the strong separatist movement in the region of Flanders.

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