Search result: 72 articles

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Year 1998 x

Mark Deweerdt
Article

La restructuration des organisations militaires

Analyse sociologique et implications pour les Forces armées belges

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3-4 1998
Authors Philippe Manigart

Philippe Manigart
Article

De kroniek van een aangekondigde vervlakking

de Europese Unie, de nakende uitbreiding en de mislukte pogingen tot aanpassing van de EU-Raad van Ministers

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3-4 1998
Authors Bart Kerremans
Abstract

    The European Union bas recently started negotiations on its enlargement with a first group of six countries. This will probably be followed by a second wave of enlargements that would include five or six more countries. A question that can be raised in whether the institutional structure of the EU is ready to cope with an expanded membership. This article aims at analyzing this question as far as the Council of Ministers is concerned. It points at the rising tension between the capacity of the Council to act and the extent of control that each member states can exert on Council decision-making. The IGC that resulted in the Amsterdam Treaty basically failed to resolve this problem. The article looks at the reasons why it failed since these reasons expound the problems the EU will have to face in the near future when preparing its institutions for an expanded membership.


Bart Kerremans
Article

Belgian politics in 1997

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3-4 1998
Authors Stefaan Fiers and Mark Deweerdt
Abstract

    The so-called 'Dutroux-case'- the revelation of the kidnapping and the murder of four underaged girls and the apparent malfunctions of the judiciary and the police forces, was the most important issue on the 1997 political agenda. Unanimously, the Chamber of Representatives agreed upon the recommendations of a parliamentary inquiry into the bungled police investigation. Yet the unanimity disappeared quickly when the recommendations on the reorganisation of the police forces had to be implemented. New revelations of the Dassault-case, and the involvement of both socialist parties, put the government underpressure. The events themselves, and the discontent they caused in some majority parties, urged the government to revise the governmental programme. Guy Spitaels, chairman of the Walloon parliament resigned. Guy Coëme, former minister of Defence, alleged ofpassive corruption in the Dassault-case, was referred to the Supreme Court of Appeal by decision of the Chamber of Representatives.


Stefaan Fiers

Mark Deweerdt

Mark Deweerdt

Peter Biondi

Marianne Thyssen

    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.


Rik Coolsaet
Article

La politique européenne de la Belgique

Les années 1970-1996: entre orthodoxie et pragmatisme

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1998
Authors Christian Franck
Abstract

    The 1969-72 period has shown an evolution in the belgian european policy. White instituional orthodoxy and federalist teleology had prevailed in the sixties, some pragmatism has been added since Prime minister Gaston Eyskens met President Pompidou in Paris in june 1972. Belgium accepts the launching of a cooperation among the national foreign policies outside the sphere of the EC institutions; regular summits of heads of government are also agreed on. Pragmatism doesn't weaken however the belgian concerns about orthodoxy. Belgian diplomacy is claiming a twofold orthodoxy. The "de lege fata" one insists on the compliance of the institutional practises with the legal provisions of the Treaties and on the extension of the scope of the EC policies by using the faculty provided by art. 235 EC. The constant refusal of the so called "compromis de Luxembourg" and the recurrent plea for the qualified majority voting, or the emphasis put on the powers of the Commission illustrate this kind of orthodoxy. The "de lege ferenda" orthodoxy consists of preventing institutional evolutions from closing the road to the long term federalist aims belgian diplomacy is still working towards for European integration. Hence some dilemmas between pragmatism on short term issues and some dogmatic rigidities which refer to the federalist finality. The discussion about twofold orthodoxy is grounded on a belgian positions' analysis on european affairs which covers the period from the end of the sixties to the belgian positions at the 1996 IGC. By the future perspective of a broader EU enlargement, Belgium will also face a new challenge: will its relative political weight be decreasing in the same time theUnion will extend? Which will be the price for accepting less Belgium in a larger Union?


Christian Franck

    The way Belgium implements European Law, meaning how it transposes EU directives into national law, is heavily influenced by its federal structure. The fact that 7 governments and parliaments may all have to intervene in a transposition of a directive for which the competences are divided between them and the fact that a number of consultative procedures have to be respected (the legal scrutiny by the State Council and the advices to be given by committees consisting of trade and other professional unions) explain why Belgium has been lagging behind in transposing EU directives within their time limit. In Belgium the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in charge of coordinating the transposition of EU directives and representing Belgium in procedures at the European Court of Justice.


Herman Merckx

Magda Aelvoet

    Belgium is generally perceived as being one of the most fervent supporters of European integration. It is supposed that this is equally true for both, the Belgian political elite and the Belgian population. Unlike in other EU member states, no large public discussion on EU integration has taken place. Therefore, it is generally supposed that Lindberg's concept of the permissive consensus applies to the Belgians. This article aims, first, at challenging empirically the existence ofa permissive consensus in Belgium. In 1997 both qualitative and quantitative data on the policy position on EU issues ofabout 130 Belgian social organisations have been collected. Content analysis ofthese positions shows that the existence ofa permissive consensus seems to be dependent on a number of variables (institutional or policy issues, policy domain, types of actors involved...) and that a general observation of a permissive consensus has to be relaxed. Second, if permissive consensus is declining, why is it, then, that no open political controversy on European integration has emerged? In answering this, thefocus is on two explanatory variables: the resources of those that would liketo mobilise are quite limited and their opinion on European politics is rather heterogeneous and undeveloped.


Jan Beyers
Article

De Euro-Belgische ambtenaren

Een paradoxale prestatie

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1998
Authors Guido Dierickx
Abstract

    The Belgian civil servants who are involved in the working groups of the European Council of Ministers on a full-time basis are a small elite corps which is hardly typical for the Belgian civil service as a whole. Most of its members belong to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or to other ministries as these have delegates in the Permanent Representation. Their responsibilities too are rather different from those of the normal Belgian civil servant. The latter are typically engaged in the implementation of the policies designed by their political masters, the farmer are largely autonomous policy makers and negotiators, though mostly in matters of minor political importance. In one regard though, these Euro-Belgians are still recognizable as typically Belgian. Their political culture is characterized, tough to a lesser degree than that of the other senior civil servants in Belgium, by a technocratism which is very distrustful of political actors and by a remarkable level of distrust of their organisational infrastructure. Such a culture should lead to a poor performance in the working groups of the Council of Ministers. But it does not. That is the paradox this contribution intends to examine.


Guido Dierickx
Article

Vlaamse Europarlementsleden beoordelen hun Europees Parlement

Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1998
Authors Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck

Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck
Article

Vlaamse Europarlementsleden beoordelen hun Europees Parlement

Freddy Willockx

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1998
Authors Freddy Willockx

Freddy Willockx

Frans Van Daele
Article

Het (Belgisch) middenveld en de Europese beleidsvorming

institutionele factoren binnen een meerlagig systeem

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1998
Authors Peter Bursens
Abstract

    This article examines the organisation and strategies of Belgian interest groups and their European peak-organisations with respect to the EU policy-making arena. It conceptualises the European Union as a of multi-level governance political system that consists ofmultiple interlocking government levels (sub-national, national and supranational), governed by means of non-hierarchical actor configurations with a blurred boundary between the public and the private sphere. It further argues that the European policy-making can best be studied from a (historical) new-institutionalist perspective which emphasises that the preferences andthe behaviour of political actors are shaped by the institutional context which provides opportunities and constraints. Evidence of the institutionalfactors within a multi-level governance setting is then given from the organisational structure and strategies of Belgian interest groups in general and from the environmental policy sector in particular.


Peter Bursens

    This paper focusses on the Belgian constitutional and legal regulations which are clearly and relatively directly linked to minority protection as welt as their relevance for South Africa by way of analogy, taking into account South Africa's specific circumstances. Generally, what seems to be highly relevant for South Africa is the different kind of solutions in Belgium for its three categories of minorities as related to a different degree of territorial concentration. Going from an emphasis on territorial federalism, providing autonomy, for the highly territorial concentrated linguistic groups, over the use of the relative concentrations of the ideological and philosophical groups in certain federated entities, to a combination of individual human rights and group rights without a territorial connection whatsoever for the religious groups which are highly dispersed throughout the country. An analogous differentiation ofseveral types ofminority protection could bedivised in South Africa as the general lack of territorial concentration of the country's several population groups bas a different degree for the ethnic/linguistic groups as compared to the religious ones.


André Alen

Kristien Henrard
Article

Wie is de natie?

Een analyse van de betekenis van taal en territorialiteit in België

Journal Res Publica, Issue 1 1998
Authors Anja Detant
Abstract

    The institutional reform of the Belgian state seems to run parallel with a redefinition of the whole of Belgian society. 'Subnationalism' has overtaken the traditional ethno-linguistic definitions which used to provide a basis for political identification and mobilisation. The territorial demarcation of the regions and the politicisation of cultural life on both sides of the linguistic border constitute basic ingredientsfor 'nationbuilding'projects in Flanders and Wallonia. A number of elements are distinguished to explain why the 'nationalism' of the regions will have repercussions on the political developments in the capital area. Language and territoriality have always played a special role in Brussels. Changes in connection with definitions of territoriality and identity now seem to create opportunities to redefine the relationship between the communities in Brussels. It is not inconceivable that, in the long run, the linguistic divide wilt fade out and wilt be replaced by an identification on the basis of a territorial criterion shared by all the Brussels' inhabitants.


Anja Detant

    Personnel management in localgovernment in Flanders bas undergone some major reforms during recent years. We examine the purposes and the extent of these reforms. Also, the new personnel management in Flemish local government is evaluated in terms of flexibility. The Flemish civil service can be considered as an Internal Labour Market. The rigidity which characterises the Internal Labour Market in local government in Flanders is shown by the fact that local government lacks discretion in elaborating the personnel statute, which still constitutes the basis of personnel management. However, the thesis that the public sector employment policy is too rigid has to be nuanced. The civil service is familiar with irregular forms ofemployment. Infact, in Flemish local government only half of all personnel are employed according to a statute. Despite some constraints on the development of more flexible personnel policies, it is still possible to find opportunities which provide hope for the development of new and modern personnel management strategies in local government.


Trui Steen
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