Res Publica

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Issue 2, 1978 Expand all abstracts

Access_open Inleiding

Koppen uit het politieke nieuws van 1977

Authors Editor Res Publica

Editor Res Publica

    For each topic the obiectives, instruments and performance of the policy concerned are expounded. In the field of fiscal policy special attention is drawn to the rather large deficit of the budget, its consequences and possible remedies. The section on monetary policy deals in particular with the discussion around the maintaining of the Belgian franc within the European small snake and with the argumentation of the Belgian central bank against the monetarist's contention in favour of the monetary rule.

Vic Van Rompuy

    Until 1976, the most important measures to fight unemployment in Belgium consisted of creating an easier situation for the unemployed, of preventing older people to join the number of unemployed, and of some measures to safeguard and facilitate access to the labour marketfor youths. This policy was continued in 1977, but some new dimensions were added, such as the creation of a «third labour circuit» and the humanization of working conditions.

Marie-Louise Opdenberg

Access_open Dagboek van een kabinetsformatie

Authors Jan Ceuleers

    In a day by day analysis, the cabinet-formation leading to the fifth Tindemans cabinet in Belgium in traced, using information gathered from talks with the main participants, and also making use of their personal notes. This «diary» consists of three parts: the first part concerns the partner-choice: the coming into the cabinet of the so-called «regional parties» (Volksunie and PDF) and the socialists, and the disappearance of the liberals; the second part concerns the negotiations about thegovernment-program proper, which resulted in an agreement about statereform; the third part relates the distribution of ministerial portfolios.

Jan Ceuleers

Access_open L'évolution des partis politiques en 1977

Authors Xavier Mabille

    The political year of 1977 was essentially marked by the organizing of an anticipated parliamentary election (six months after a local poll) and by the forming of a new government coalition. The aftermath of these elections and the reactions to the forming of the Tindemans Vcoalition cabinet were the main factors which conditioned the evolution of partie in the course of that year.

Xavier Mabille

Access_open Het beleid van de provincies

Authors Staf Lauwerysen

    The abolition of the political institutions of the Belgian provinces, as provided in the government declaration of 7 June 1977, puts a question into the usefulness of the provincial institutions. This contribution intends to throw more light on the policy at the provincial level - now and in the near past - by means of a brief functional and financial analysis. Beforehand, it has to be mentioned that juridical and institutional limitations do exercise a restraining influence on the functioning of the provinces. A task-analysis shows that they are mainly concerned with «traditional» tasks (e.g. education, traffic), but they recently take into consideration «modern» tasks in the domain of social welfare (e.g. culture, community-organization). However, the means of the Belgian provinces are very limited; as a result, the current expenditures of the provinces do not exceed 3 % of all public current expenditures. It shows the relative small importance of the provinces in the total government structure.

Staf Lauwerysen

    Belgium's annual «horizontal» State budgets for scientific activities show a transition from the «golden» sixties and early seventies, with a privileged higher increase than the State budget as a whole, to recent years, during which the science budget has had some difficulty to maintain its level in absolute figures, constant prices. This evolution reflects mainly three phenomena: the completion, in 1971, of the legal and financial measures for university expansion gradually developed since the early sixties and creating a large reserve of student places; beginning in the same year, the surprising reducingrate of increase and even stagnation of student numbers, as against the previous explosion of these numbers; the fact that the expansion of scientific activities in higher education was not followed to the same extent by a process of «scientification» outside education.Out of the decade came probably less enthusiasm in society for science and many aften organizational problems. The main task for the next few years is, especially considering Belgian conditions and the context of economic crisis, to reinforce, through various policies, scientific activities and impact on productive and service industries as well as in the publicservice.

Jef Van Der Perre

Access_open L'année 1977 pour les immigrés

Authors Michel Taverne and Albert Martens

    Although immigration of foreign workers had practically ceased since 1974, a series of important facts or developments took place in 1977.1. Unemployment increased and maintained itself on a high level. Immigrants, who make up 10 % of the active population, were affected by 14 % of the total unemployment. This percentage has remained constant since 1967. Nevertheless, these figures do not seem to have been noted by the Members of Parliament. They merely intend to propose either sending back all foreign unemployed workers, or simply expelling all working foreigners.2. In 1977, the Foreign Office replaced the former «Foreign Police». This does not mean, however, that the situation of the immigrants has improved.3. The granting of voting and eligibility rights to immigrants with respect to local elections is an idea which made progress in 1977. However, the political parties have very different ideas on this. Also, the issue of whether granting such rights does or does not imply a revisionof the Belgian Constitution has still not been solved.4. Previous to 1977, the immigration policy had fallen under the competency of the Ministers of Employment and Labor and of Justice. The recently concluded policy agreement, the Egmont Pact, calls for the regions and communities to play an important role in this matter. So far, this modification has barely been noted by the legislature.

Michel Taverne

Albert Martens

Access_open De crisis in de staalnijverheid

pogingen tot opvijzelen en beleidskeuzen

Authors Jef Maton

    The Belgian steel industry falls apart into four groups. The Flemish industry consists mainly of a very modern steel plant Sidmar near the port of Ghent controlled by the industrial holding Arbed. The Walloon industry falls apart into three basins: Cockerill in Liège; the holy triangleof Charleroi, controlled by Frère-Bourgeois, Cobepa (Paribas) and Bruxelles-Lambert (this three holdings being associated in the Financière du Ruau); the independents. In the Walloon industry the successive processes of steel making are distributed over a great number of plants, most of the equipment is outdated, labour relations are bad and so is management. The finances required to renew this ancient industry are so large that the holdings cannot do so without the aid of the Belgian Government and the European Communities. Beginning of 1977, Davignon (CEE), proposes to freeze the production and market shares of the member countries, and to increase the European steel price by EEC tariff measures, in this way protecting the low productivity concerns; not in the least the walloon concerns. The European Communities promise financial help for restructuring. The implicit condition is comparative advantage of enterprises. In the Belgian context, this would mean that Sidmar would be extended and part of the Walloon industry closed down. The next move of the Brussels-Walloon concerns is, therefore, to corner Sidmar. During the course of 1977 and the first half of 1978 the Government negotiates with employers and unions a restructuring plan and general steel agreement, the «Plan Claes». The plan foresees in a lasting ceiling imposed on Sidmar; in a very large fiow of restructuring aid,mainly from public funds and the set-up of an intricate network of semi-governmental institutions. The Plan Claes is a purely political compromise. From the economic point of view, the plan wilt only speed up the definite emigration of traditional steel making processes towards the semi-industrialized countries.

Jef Maton

    Belgium's foreign policy is largely embedded in the external action of the European Community. Besides, the unity of action of the nine memberstates in maior issues of international polities corresponds to a deliberate option of the Belgian government. In the debates of the North-South Dialogue (Conference on International Economic Cooperation and32nd General Assembly of the U.N.) and in the Belgrade conference, Belgium has endeavoured to promote a common stand by the nine member-states. During the term of its EC presidency, Belgium has forwarded the proceedings concerning the extension of the community, the relations with the Comecon, and - on the level of political cooperation - the defi,nition of the Nine's position on Southern Africa. The events in Shaba (Zaïre) have led Belgium to reaffirm the particular place Africa holds in its cooperation policy

Christian Franck

Access_open De politieke opiniepeilingen in België in 1977

Authors Mark Deweerdt

Mark Deweerdt

Access_open Bibliographie de l'année politique 1977

Authors Wladimir S. Plavsic

Wladimir S. Plavsic