Jong N-VA, the youth wing of the Christian Democratic New Flemish Alliance based in Flanders, has jokingly proposed selling neighbouring Wallonia to Donald Trump for just €1.
“Dear President @realDonaldTrump, one euro and Wallonia is yours. Call us,” they tweeted using the hashtag #GreenlandIsNotForSale.
The tweet included a doctored photo of the gold Trump Tower looming over the Walloon city of Durbuy – a seeming reference to the photoshopped picture that Donald Trump recently tweeted in response to media frenzy over the potential purchase of Greenland.
The Flemish group’s tweet has irked some local lawmakers. Cathérine Fonck, head of the Humanist Democratic Centre’s grouping in the federal parliament, said: “So proud of their little tweet. Flattering the anti-Francophones, surfing on the withdrawal and rejection of others. Their vision of the future and society is so sad and selfish. I pity them.”
But the group was quick to play down its offer, saying it was just a joke. “We had absolutely no political message with this and did not want to provoke anything,” president of Jong N-VA, Lawrence Vancraeyenest, told Euronews. “This was a joke, responding to current events, from a youth perspective.”
(Green)land of Confusion
‘Current events’ refers to the news that Donald Trump is contemplating the purchase of Greenland, the world’s biggest island that belongs to Denmark but enjoys limited self-rule.
The president said the concept was “strategically interesting”, for Greenland can be viewed as an important economic and geopolitical asset due to its vast supply of natural resources, as well as its location between the North Atlantic and the Arctic ocean.
But the idea of such a land deal aroused fierce opposition both in Denmark and Greenland, which said the island is not for sale. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called it “absurd”, with Donald Trump hitting back by cancelling a planned visit to Copenhagen.
Frederiksen said she was “disappointed and surprised” by Trump’s move, and attempted to play down the tensions by calling for “stronger strategic cooperation” with the United States in the Arctic.
However surreal the Greenland deal idea may sound, Donald Trump is not the first US president to have broached it.
The United States offered Denmark $100 million in gold bars for the island in 1946, due to what Washington hawks considered ″a military necessity″, according to the documents that were unearthed from the National Archives decades later. US officials also appeared to have considered swapping the island for a northern portion of Alaska, but neither of their proposals was accepted.
TIME magazine reported that American ″military men″ were still exploring this idea in 1947. At the time, the magazine made no mention of the $100 million offer but suggested that Washington had considered writing off Denmark’s $70 million debt in return for Greenland.
The US Air Force went on to set up a base in Greenland – the country's northernmost military installation – in 1952 to detect the potential launch of ballistic missiles against the United States and track spacecraft.