One of the three regions of Belgium, Flanders occupies the northern part of the country; it comprises 44% of the country's territory and 57.5% of the population. Flanders is the most economically developed province of Belgium.
The struggle for autonomy started with the movement for equality of Flemish and French languages back in the XIX century. As a result of reforms that began in 1970, a multi-level federative system with three language communities and three territorial regions was established in Belgium. In 1980, the Flemish Legislative Assembly and the Flemish Executive Committee were created. The formalization of autonomy was enshrined in the San Michel agreements in 1993. A multi-level federal structure, in which most of the functions are concentrated in the hands of the Regions and Communities, allows the latter to solve management issues on their own.
The historical term "Flanders" refers to the name of the medieval county, although the modern borders of Flanders only partially coincide with its borders. Flemish people constitute 58% of the population of Belgium and the absolute majority in Flanders. There is a French-speaking minority in the province, but its size is difficult to estimate: since 1947, according to the decision of the Belgian government, there were no language censuses in the country.
The regionalization of Belgium led to the disintegration of national political parties into regional ones. As a result, Flanders has its own party system represented by Christian Democrats, Socialists, Liberals, Greens, as well as separatist parties, the Flemish Bloc (since 2004 - the Flemish interest) and the New Flemish Alliance.
According to the Constitution of the country, places in the Government of Belgium are distributed equally between francophones and Flemings, and this becomes a constant source of contention during the formation of the Cabinet.