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Tijdschrift Res Publica x Jaar 1989 x

    On 17 April 1962, Genera! de Gaulle's proposal to establish a political union between the six EC Member States, better known as the 'Fouchet Proposal', was vetoed by Belgium and The Netherlands who made their further support dependent on British participation in the negotiations on a political union. This article examines the position of Belgium, represented by its Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. P-H. Spaak and more particularly its evolution from a rather favourable position to a rejection of the project. The contradictory Belgian demand for a more supranational political union at the same time as British membership can be considered in the light of Belgium's wish to promote both the process of European integration and the principle of Atlantic solidarity, the basis of its security. The article describes how the final deathblow to the negotiations was not given by Belgium and The Netherlands but by the French veto of British accession to the EC and the signing of the Franco-German Cooperation Treaty of Elysee in ]anuary 1963.

Sophie Vanhoonacker

    The Belgian Auditor's Office is not competent to judge good management. Parliamentary initiatives have been taken to extend its competence towards an efficiency, effectiveness and economy control. Up till 1985 the Belgian budget was drawn up according toa classification system with insufficient regard for the application ofmanagement objectives to budgetary allocation. Based on notions originating from the P.P.B.S. system the budget is drawn up now by programmes assigned to organisation divisions. In the future the parliamentary budget procedure could be transformed into a ratification of the General Budget of Expenses and a supervision of the execution of the departmental budgets. The General Budget will contain the programmes. A similar system offers the external controller a better management and control instrument. An efficiency control exists in various farms in Germany, Great-Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Canada. The European Auditor's Office evaluates good financial management too.

Jos Beckers

    In 1985 Cleymans showed in this journal that politica! participation in Belgium did not differ much from what was found in international research in other European countries. In this article some pieces of "conventional wisdom" in the international literature about structure and selectivity of political participation are questioned with Dutch data. Furthermore, information about participation in the Netherlands is important in itself. As neighbouring countries with close connections and interrelated histories, Belgium and Holland certainly deserve more attention as objects for comparative study. In a range of ten activities from trying to contact politicians to joining a demonstration it seems to make less and less sense to look for a polarity of conventional and unconventional participation in the Netherlands. The overall political participation since 1973 appears to remain at the same level. This finding questions popular beliefs about shifts from a rebellious beginning of the seventies to a quiet period in the second half of that decade to spectacular outbursts of unconventional political behaviour at the beginning of the eighties (new social movements) and resulting in political apathy at the moment. On a macro-level the stability of participation seems to be combined with a constant or slowly rising passive political involvement. Political involvement and participation in the 1980'sare still related with individual and social background characteristics as education, sex, age, involvement in the Labour force and religion. However, relationships are not very strong in the 1980's. Following political participation of some social categories in the 1973-1986 period, it appeared that education and leftright-selfrating are of most and possibly still growing importance. Besides the higher educated and leftisht people, public employees are the "big participators" during all the years. Students evidently lose position. The gap between the sexes seems to disappear. Whereas in Belgium working outside the home does not seem to be a factor that stimulates the participation of wamen, in the Netherlands it seems to be of an utmost importance. It turns out that there are similarities and differences in political involvement and participation between Belgium and the Netherlands. Same differences may result from the fact that Cleymans used data of 1975, whereas we used data until 1986. It is clear, however, that there have been developments in the structure andselectivity of participation in the Netherlands and it would be interesting to have more recent comparative information about Belgium.

Peter Castenmiller

Paul Dekker
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