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Belgium History Timeline

2000s

  • (2001) Belgium's Sabena Airlines declared bankruptcy
  • (2001) Head-on train crash killed eight, confusion between French-speaking and Flemish-speaking signalmen to blame
  • (2002) Euro replaced Belgian franc; legislation decriminalizing euthanasia enforced
  • (2002) Legislation decriminalizing euthanasia enforced
  • (2003) Legislation committed Belgium to closing its seven nuclear reactors by 2005, banned building new ones; government pledged to invest in renewable energy sources and gas
  • (2003) U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned that Belgium's role as NATO headquarters could be uncertain unless legislation that allowed Belgium courts to try foreigners for war and human rights crimes was changed
  • (2003) Liberals and Socialists agreed to govern in coalition with Verhofstadt as prime minister for a second term
  • (2003) Controversial legislation allowed Belgian courts to try foreigners for war and human rights crimes dropped
  • (2003) Antwerp diamond center opened its vaults after the weekend, discovered unknown burglars had stolen diamonds worth $100 million
  • (2004) High court ruled far-right Vlaams Blok racist, stripped it of funding and TV access rights, forced to disband; party re-established under new name, Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest)
  • (2005) Federal Parliament approved draft of EU constitution
  • (2005) Reform pensions by government prompted nationwide strikes
  • (2006) Police raided army barracks and soldiers' homes as part of an investigation of extreme-right activists; many people arrested for alleged attacks aimed at Belgian institutions
  • (2007) Following the losses by the ruling coalition in the elections, Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt stayed on as caretaker while talks held on a new coalition
  • (2007) Belgium was without a government for 100 days
  • (2007) Guy Verhofstadt reappointed as premier to head interim government
  • (2008) After nine months of deadlock, a new government headed by Yves Leterme was sworn in
  • (2008) Agreement was reached with France and Luxembourg to rescue embattled Dexia Bank
  • (2008) Fortis Financial Group's holdings in Belgium and Luxembourg were rescued by French Bank BNP Paribus, which bought 75% of the group's share, created one of the continent's largest savings banks
  • (2008) Prime Minister Yves Leterme resigned amid scandal over rescue of Fortis Bank
  • (2009) Christian Democrat Herman Van Rompuy confirmed as prime minister by Lower House of Parliament of a coalition that was largely unchanged from his predecessor Yves Leterme's
  • (2009) Van Rompuy stepped down to take up a new post as President of the European Council; Leterme returned for second term as prime minister
2000s continued
  • (2010) After Flemish liberal Open VLD party quit five-party coalition in row over francophone voting rights in Flemish areas, the government collapsed
  • (2010) Early parliament elections held
  • (2010) Following elections, the Flemish separatist New Flemish Alliance became largest party in Flanders, the French Socialist Party won in Wallonia
  • (2010) King asked Johan Vande Lanotte to be mediator and resume government formation talks
  • (2011) Sudden, violent storm struck at Pukkelpop Music Festival, staging collapsed, screens fell, five killed, dozens injured
  • (2011) After one year without a government, deadlock continued on forming new coalition
  • (2011) Prime Minister Yves Leterme resigned to run for post at OECD (Organization for Econonic Cooperation and Development)
  • (2011) Agreement on three key points made, included division of power between French and Dutch-speaking countries
  • (2011) French-speaking Socialist leader Elio di Rupo appointed prime minister of a six-party coalition, ended 541 days with no government
  • (2011) EU leaders met in Brussels to tackle eurozone debt crisis
  • (2011) EU leaders reached three-pronged agreement to solve debt crisis, included boosting bailout fund, banks would have to raise more capital, banks holding Greek debt agreed to 50% loss
  • (2011) Gunman opened fire in the center Liege, killed at least four people, wounded 123
  • (2012) Shiite mosque near Brussles attacked with Momotov cocktail, imam died
  • (2012) Belgian bus crash in Swiss tunnel killed 28, 22 of them were children
  • (2012) Belgian military bomb squad investigated suspicious vehicle outside United States Embassy in Brussels

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