Res Publica

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Issue 1, 1979 Expand all abstracts

    Between 7 June and 10 June 1979, the first elections of the representatives of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage will be held in all the Member States of the European Community. Within that period, the elections shall be held on a date fixed by each Member State. The electoral procedure, except for the common provisions of the annexed Act to the Council Decision on directelections of 20 September 1976, shall be governed in each Member State by its national procedures. There will be nine parallel national elections. The Council Decision and the annexed Act of 20 September 1976 are considered in retrospect and then analysed, as are the national electoral laws, which will be used for the European elections in the different Member States. Their mutual differences and contradictions are discussed. Changes from the electoral procedure in use for national elections are traced. Broadly speaking, one of the aims of the article is to show that the potential influence of an individual vote of a «European citizenl» on the composition of the European Parliament wilt differ considerably from one Member State to another. In the closing remarks, the European elections are put into the perspective of furthering the democratisation of the European Communities.

Guido Van Den Berghe

    The European People's Party - with its 11 Members in 7 countries - represents, according to the latest legislative elections in the member countries of the EEC, about 40 million voters, and 28 % of the total EEC electorate. Presenting itself as multi-classis! and open to individual adhesions, it refers also directly to the traditional values of Christian Democracy. Signs of heterogeneity can be seen, however, on three main levels - «ideological», political and economical -, which give the EPP a bipolar aspect: on the one hand, the traditional Christian-Democrat Parties of Italy and the Benelux, all playing a major role in their respective countries, and all backed by strong trade-unions; on the other hand, the German CDU/CSU and the French CDS, less concentrated onconfessional options, and more «right-wing». Between the two, the Fine Gail, only party to have joined the Christian-Democrat Group after the first enlargement. This heterogeneity is, however, compensated by strong pro-European options, which make the EPP the best organized political family on the European level, and enable its leaders to express strong hopes for the election in June.

Joseph M. Jamar

Access_open L'Union des Partis Socialistes de la Communauté Européenne

Authors Paul Claeys and Nicole Loeb-Mayer

Paul Claeys

Nicole Loeb-Mayer

    First international contacts between Liberals date back to just after the First World War with the creation of the Liberal World Union in 1924. Regular meetings among Liberals began in 1947 within the Liberal International, which at once published the «Oxford Manifesto» reaffirming basic liberal principles. Among the subjects discussed: the European integration. Another contribution to the European cooperation was made by the Liberal Movement for a United Europe, created by the Belgian liberal leader Roger Motz. At a congress in Stuttgart in March 1976 a Federation of Liberals and Democrats was officially created. Fourteen parties initially joined the Federation, two however dropped out. In November 1976 at a Congress in The Hague, first preparations were made for a European election programme, which was approved in Brussels in November 1977, at the conclusion of a democratie consultation of all parties. This programme maps out a number of liberal ideas on the future cooperation in Europe in various fields of activity. There were no major divergencies between the various member-parties of the Federation. It is identical in its contents for all ELD parties.

Jan Engels

Access_open Eurocommunism

a brief political-historical portrait

Authors Lawrence Gray

    This study begins by briefl,y examining the methodological premises underlying many post-war studies of communist parties by Western scholars. The analysis proceeds to consider the phenomenon of Eurocommunism and how many traditional studies of European communism have not allowed for the rich national and political traditions in Italy, Spain and France. The brief history of Eurocommunism - culminating in the events leading up to the 1977 Madrid «summit» - is seen as the accumulated need of the Italian (PCI), Spanish (PCE), and French (PCF) Communist Parties to assert their national identitiesand adapt to the changing demands of their individual national political contexts. The analysis continues with a resumé of the current strategies of the PCI, PCE, and PCF in the late 1970s, comparing and contrasting similarities and differences on domestic levels. Lastly, the relations between the Eurocommunist parties and the Soviet Union are examined.

Lawrence Gray

Access_open De Europese programma's van Fianna Fail, FDF-RW en Volksunie

Een gemene noemer voor Ierse nationalisten en Belgische federalisten?

Authors Joan Hart and Bruno De Witte

    The article compares the attitude of the Irish Fianna Fait, the Flemish Volksunie, and the coalition of the Rassemblement Wallon and the Francophone Brussels' PDF, towards Europe and their programmes for the European elections. These parties do not define themselves on a socio-economic or religious basis, as most of the other European political parties do, but give ideological priority to the ethnic or national factor. Does this imply a common and distinctive attitude to European integration? The answer must be no; they disagree not only on sectoral policies, but their fundamental outlook is different. FDF-RW and VU, on the one hand, though bitter opponents on the national level, both favour a federal Europe, in order to promote autonomy for their respective regions. Fianna Fait on the other hand, white recognizing the political and economic importance of Europe, is sceptical on the institutional level. Fianna Faits approach is essentially pragmatic, being a government party identifying its interests with the national interest, whereas the Belgian federalists cannot identify themselves with the existing Belgian state. Therefore it is unlikely at present that Fianna Fait wilt leave its European allies - the Gaullists - to join a hypothetic regionalist grouping in European Parliament.

Joan Hart

Bruno De Witte

Access_open Het verlies van het machtspotentieel van een zwak parlement

Onderzoek aan de hand van de Belgische afgevaardigden in het Europees Parlement (1952-1979)

Authors Wilfried De Wachter and Lieven De Winter

    The «law of weak parliaments» states that parliaments with small competences only attract weak candidates, which in turn weakens the parliament even more. Research concerning the Belgian delegates to the European Parliament from 1952 to 1979, confirmed this law, but also qualified it by showing that the downward trend can be crosscut when the parliament gains importance as an institutional platform for a social movement, in this case for the European integration.

Wilfried De Wachter

Lieven De Winter

Access_open Le Parlement Européen et l'environnement

Authors Jean-Pierre Hannequart

    It is unquestionable that the European Parliament has contributed to the creation of a community policy in environmental matters and has given all its support to the first initiatives of the Community in thisrespect. Furthermore, it has adopted a series of specific resolutions. The European Parliament has not had a decisive infiuence, however, in the implementation of the Action Programme of the Community by the adoption of directives. Although the Commission generally approved suggestions made by parliamentarians, the Council hardly ever followed them through. Through the procedure of parliamentary questions, possibly followed by the adoption of a resolution, the Parliament has nevertheless contributed to making a number of problems known. In future, strengthening of the moral «authority» of the European Parliament by the very fact of its being directly elected seems to be of crucial importance. On the other hand it is conceivable that a great number of procedural changes in the Community can and must further the development of the European Parliament's role in environmentalpolicies.

Jean-Pierre Hannequart

Access_open De zetelverdeling voor het Europese Parlement

een extrapolatie en een simulatie

Authors Luc Holvoet

    The distribution of the seats in European Parliament which is most probably to result from the European elections in Belgium, on June 10, 1979 is forecasted. The extrapolation is based on the results of the general elections for the House of Representatives, which took place on April 17, 1977 and December 17, 1978. The mode of allocation of seats among the different political formations is influenced not only by the options taken by the parties themselves, whether they form a coalition with a like-minded party or not,but also by some characteristics of the electoral systems. Alternative systems lead to a different distribution than the one that is most likely to come out.

Luc Holvoet

Access_open België en de Europese integratie, 1945-1955

Een overzicht van de onuitgegeven bronnen

Authors Mark Van Den Wijngaert, E. Lamberts and P. Van De Meerssche

    The article gives a review of inedited sources dealing with the Belgian contribution to European integration in the years 1945-1955. Such sources are kept in the Algemeen Rijksarchief (the Belgian Central Archives), in the Parliament, various ministerial departments, the Navorsings- en Studiecentrum voor de Geschiedenis van de Tweede Wereldoorlog (the Research- and Study Centre for the History of the Second World war), study centres of the major political parties, a number of non-governmental organizations as well as the private archives of a number of politicians.

Mark Van Den Wijngaert

E. Lamberts

P. Van De Meerssche

Access_open Etudes universitaires sur le Parlement Européen

Authors Marlène Dauven-Cattelain

Marlène Dauven-Cattelain