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Article

Belgian Politics in 2004

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 2-3 2005
Auteurs Sam Depauw en Mark Deweerdt
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Sam Depauw
Postdoctoral Fellow of the Fund for Scientific Research-Flanders at the University of Leuven.

Mark Deweerdt
Political Journalist of De Tijd.

    The hollow state is a metaphor for the process in which the position of the nation-state is weakened, as authority is transferred to the EU level or regional level (horizontal shift) and to the private domain (vertical). We argue that the analysis of this process should not focus narrowly on formal rules and sovereignty, but that the most fruitful approach is a thorough empirical assessment of the changes taking place in various aspects of the nation-state. Moreover, the scope should be broadened to include the transformation of political decision making: from government to governance. In particular, we discuss the consequences for the functioning of political parties. We conclude that member states indeed lose policy autonomy to EU integration, and have to share authority with several other actors. Yet, because of its ability to adapt to external challenges, the state remains a relevant and important entity.


Harmen Binnema
Doctoraal onderzoeker aan de Afdeling Politicologie, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Noël P. Vergunst
Postdoctoraal onderzoeker aan de Afdeling Politicologie, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
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