Res Publica

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Issue 3-4, 1995 Expand all abstracts

Mark Deweerdt

Access_open Belgian polities in 1994

Authors Kris Deschouwer and Mark Deweerdt

Kris Deschouwer

Mark Deweerdt

Access_open Vlaanderen verschijnt op het Europese en internationale forum

Kroniek van de Vlaamse politiek in 1994

Authors Guido Tastenhoye

Guido Tastenhoye

Access_open La wallonie et les francophones en 1994

Authors Laura Iker

Laura Iker

Access_open De gemeenteraadsverkiezingen van 9 oktober 1994

Analyse van de resultaten

Authors Johan Ackaert

    The institutional setting of the 1994 local elections was characterized by a by law introduced limitation of campaign expenditures and the increased share (at least 25%) of female candidates. In spite of compulsory voting rules, the turnout decreased with 1,2%. The proportion of blanc or invalid votes increased slightly with 0,3%. The results of the local elections followed the trends drawn by the 1991 general election. This means general losses for the traditional parties and large progress for the extreme right-wing parties. In the Flemish region, the winners were the extreme right-wing Vlaams Blok, the ecologist AGALEV and the VLD liberals. The others parties lost votes. This was particularly the case for the Flemish-nationalist VU, followed by the socialists (SP) and the christian-democrats (CVP). In the Walloons region, all the traditional parties were set back or stagnated. The socialists (PS) suffered the largest decline, but the liberals (PRL) and christian-democrats (PSC) lost voters too. The ecologist ECOLO only kept a modest status quo position. On the other hand, the extreme right-wing parties Front National and Agir realised a breakthrough. In Brussels, we notice the same tendencies, set-backs for the traditional parties and progress for the extreme rightwing parties (of both languages). The ecologists belonged there also to the winning side. Nevertheless, the fragmentation of the local political system should not be dramatized. In general terms, parties supporting the leaving political majorities in the municipalities were no langer electorally favoured. On the contrary, the liberals realized better results in these municipalities where they belonged to the opposition.

Johan Ackaert

Peter Janssens

    In 1992, the Walloon Region modified its investment incentive legislation. The new legislation applies the notion of SME to any business employing up to 250 people and which turnover does not exceed 20 million ECU, and replaces the former interest subsidies and capital premiums by a grant calculated as a percentage of investment. According to the size of the business, the activity sector and the area, the maximum aid may vary from 13 to 21 %. The grant total percentage is calculated by summing up the percentage of aid obtained for five criteria under which job creation is by far the most important (up to 8 %). The new legislation gives a partial answer to traditional criticisms against investment incentives. First of all it aims at reducing the risk of accelerated substitution of capital for Labour. Besides, it simplifies adminsitrative procedures and reduces the "sprinkling" (spreading of the available budget over a large number of business which makes the impact by investment project almost negligible). It should also reduce the risk of inefficient allocation of resources thatarises when grants go to loss-making entreprises. But the question of whether investment incentives actually increase the level of investment (effectiveness) remains largely unanswered. Evidence suggests that investment incentives might have contributed to attract foreign investments hut have little impact on thelevel of domestic investment. Nevertheless, as far as SMEs are concerned, public grants might contribute to increased investment not by reducing the cost or increasing the profitability of the project but rather by increasing the means available in the business.

S. Eggermont

G. Pagano

M. Tilman

Access_open Ecolo et les "nouveaux mouvements sociaux" en Belgique francophone

frères de sang ou lointains cousins?

Authors Benoït Rihoux

    This article deals with the nature and the evolution of the relationships between the Belgian French-speaking Green party Ecolo and the new social movements in Wallonia and Brussels, from the larger identified sectors of these movements (environment, third-world, peace, anti-nuclear, women) to various other movements. To start with, the status of these movements in the emergence of the Greenparty is scrutinised. Then, on the basis of a survey conducted amongst members of the party elite (elected representatives and cadres), different modalities of the party/movements links are analysed: joint activism, selective communication channels between the elites, structural links. The bottom line is that, altogether, the links are tighter than one might expect, but that the Green party new social movements linkage remains ambiguous in many respects.

Benoït Rihoux

    In view of the pessimism on the two EU presidencies (Greece and Germany) before 1994 and ofa number ofpolitica[ breakthroughs that has been reached during that year, one can say that the last year of the Tweve (since 1995 the EU consists of fifteen members) has been relatively succesful. It was a year in which the economic recession came to an end, in which the enlargement negotiations have been concluded, and in which the Europe Agreements entered into force. At the same time, however, 1994 showed the first signs of future problems with which the enlarged EU will have to cope. The expected eastern and southern enlargements will necessitate institutional adaptations and will intensify the already bitter discussions on the EU's budget. At the same time, the EU will have to find ways to cape with rising unemployment. This will have to happen in a period during which the member states are having difficulties to fullfil the budgetary conditions of Maastricht. In other words, the difficult years are not yet over for the process of European integration.

Bart Kerremans