Historic world port and fashionista capital, Antwerp has always lived on the crest of the wave. Now, a separatist party heading into municipal elections Sunday wants to use the city as a base for breaking away from Belgium — putting it at the forefront of a European breakaway trend just as the EU celebrates winning the Nobel Peace Prize for fostering continental unity.

Moves toward separatism have been getting a bigger these past months as the economic crisis pushes people faster toward stark choices on nationhood and their future. It is no different in Spain's Catalonia, another wealthy region grousing that it has to pay for others in its crisis-hit country.