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Flag sometimes associated with the Rattachist movement, combining the French flag with the coq hardi of Wallonia

Rattachism (French: Rattachisme, IPA: [ʁataʃism] , "reattach-ism") or Reunionism (Réunionisme, IPA: [ʁeynjɔnism] , "reunion-ism") is a political ideology which calls for the French-speaking part of Belgium or Wallonia to secede from Belgium and become part of France. Brussels, which is majority French-speaking but enclaved in Flanders, may be included within this ideology; as may the six Flemish municipalities with language facilities for French-speakers around Brussels. It can be considered a French-speaking equivalent of Grootneerlandisme (or, historically, Orangism) in Flanders.[1]

The Rattachist ideology is associated with a faction of the Walloon Movement and is advocated by the political parties Walloon Rally and Wallonia–France Rally. Neither presently have any parliamentary seats.

History and etymology

The term "rattachism" derives from French rattacher 'reattach', indicating a reunification of what has been separated. This looks back to the former unity of the "French period" (1794–1815).

Present-day Belgium was conquered in 1795 by the French Republic during the French Revolutionary Wars. It was annexed to the Republic, which later became the Napoleonic Empire. After the Battle of Waterloo (1815), Wallonia became part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands under King William of Orange.[2] Following the 1830 Belgian Revolution, Wallonia became a part of the Kingdom of Belgium.[3]

Following the Belgian Revolution, a minority of Walloons called for unification with France.[4] Four newspapers that supported unification were Le Journal de Verviers, Le Journal de la province de Liège, L'Industrie and L'Éclaireur. At this time Rattachists in Verviers were a majority.[5] Rattachists argued that in order to preserve their economic prosperity they must unite with France, and that Wallonia as a region was culturally French.[4] The Regent of Belgium, Erasme Louis Surlet de Chokier was a supporter in this period, as was Charles de Brouckère, Charles Rogier and Alexandre Gendebien.[4][5] After the German Prince Leopold I became King of Belgium in 1831, the Rattachists' hopes of unification were dashed.[4]

In 1968, President of France and World War II hero Charles de Gaulle stated that "If one day a political authority representative of Wallonia were to approach France officially, that day we would respond favourably, with full hearts, to a request that appeared legitimate".[6]

Current support

In France

A November 2007 poll published by French newspaper La Voix du Nord found about 54% of French respondents support unification with Wallonia. A 2008 poll found support at 60% among respondents.[7]

A 2010 Institut français d'opinion publique (IFOP) poll found that if the Belgian political crisis led to the splitting up of Belgium, 66% of the French respondents would support the unification of Wallonia with France. IFOP has reported that support for unification with France has been rising since 2007.[8]

Modern day French politicians such as Jean-Pierre Chevènement, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Jacques Myard, Marine Le Pen, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Éric Zemmour have all voiced support for Rattachism. Economist Jacques Attali also supports it.[9][incomplete short citation][10] Past politicians have also supported it, the most important of which being former President Charles de Gaulle.[11]

In Wallonia

Another IFOP poll taken in 2010 during the Belgian political crisis found that 32% of Walloons surveyed would support unification if Belgium splits up.[12]

Walloon politicians who have at some point voiced support for the idea are Daniel Ducarme, Jean Gol, Claude Eerdekens and Robert Collignon [fr].[13]

See also


  1. ^ "Rattachism vs Groot-Neerlandism (Pan-nationalism)". Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  2. ^ "A young region with a long history (from 57BC to 1831)". Gateway to the Walloon Region. Walloon Region. 22 January 2007. Archived from the original on 1 May 2008. Retrieved 13 January 2009.
  3. ^ Belien, Paul (10 March 2014). A Throne in Brussels: Britain, the Saxe-Coburgs and the Belgianisation of Europe. Andrews UK Limited. ISBN 9781845406417. Retrieved 20 April 2019 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ a b c d Jean Stengers, Histoire du sentiment national en Belgique des origines à 1918, t. I : Les Racines de la Belgique : jusqu'à la Révolution de 1830, Bruxelles, Racine, 2000
  5. ^ a b Els Witte (trad. du néerlandais par Anne-Laure Vignaux), « La Construction de la Belgique : 1828-1847
  6. ^ Bosher, J. F. (20 April 2019). The Gaullist Attack on Canada, 1967-1997. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. ISBN 9780773520257. Retrieved 20 April 2019 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ kld (10 June 2010). "Twee op drie Fransen willen Wallonië erbij". De Standaard. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Les Français prêts à un rattachement des Wallons, selon l'Ifop". Reuters. 9 June 2010. Archived from the original on 31 May 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2019 – via fr.reuters.com.
  9. ^ Mélancolie française by Éric Zemmour
  10. ^ "Belgique : chronique d'une implosion annoncée". FIGARO. 4 August 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  11. ^ Alain Peyrefitte, C'était de Gaulle, éd. de Fallois, 2000, t. III, p. 329.
  12. ^ "Un tiers des Wallons prêts à devenir Français". FIGARO. 24 June 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  13. ^ Dekeyser, Frederik (10 May 2012). "Lonken naar het zuiden". Doorbraak.be. Retrieved 20 April 2019.