DOI: 10.5553/RP/048647001998040002179

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Continuïteit en discontinuïteit in het Belgisch Europabeleid

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Rik Coolsaet, "Continuïteit en discontinuïteit in het Belgisch Europabeleid", Res Publica, 2, (1998):179-191

    European states, including Belgium, have looked at the construction of Europe through an economie and a political prism. Both dimensions have evolved following parallel paths. In Belgium a large consensus has always existed concerning the economie dimension of the European construction. In this respect Belgiums post-1945 European policies area direct continuation of the interwar efforts to build a West-European economic area, based on a free trade philosophy and a rejection of economic nationalism which always handicapped small trading states such as Belgium. Even before the second world war the Belgian elite thus accepted the principles of economic multilateralism. In the political dimension however a consensus on a federal Europe only emerged at the end of the seventies. Till then, important parts of the Belgian political elite remained sceptical and even hostile to the construction of a supranational Europe, based on a traditional view on political autonomy and independence. The reasons why Belgian views on the political dimension of Europe slowly shifted to a federal objective were partly domestic and partly the result of the growing awareness that a small countries' political interests in the world can be best pursued through supranationality.

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