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Tijdschrift Res Publica x Jaar 1987 x
Article

Power and satisfaction analysis

An application to the Belgian House of Representatives

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 4 1987
Auteurs Luc Lauwers en Patrick Uytterhoeven
Samenvatting

    Using post-war election results for the Belgian House of Representatives, the power relations among political parties are analysed by calculating power- and satisfaction indices. Also, a participation index has been constructed to calculate the probability that a party will join a government coalition. Since the election of 1981 the traditional parties (christian-democrats, socialists and liberals) join the same Banzhof power and participation probability. The other parties represent no power and participation valueat all.


Luc Lauwers

Patrick Uytterhoeven
Article

1944-1949: Repressie zonder maat of einde?

Een interimverslag over een onderzoek naar de berechting in België van collaborateurs

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 4 1987
Auteurs Steven Dhondt en Luc Huyse
Samenvatting

    The purge of Second World War collaborators in Belgium has not been the subject of many serious scientific research sofar. However, progress in theorizing and in data handling make it now possible to clear away the major impediments to such scientific research. After the war, extracts of the judgements of the military courts, which were responsible for the trial of collaborators, were published in the government gazette, « Het Belgisch Staatsblad ». These extracts provide the empirical basis of the project, which is put in the theoretical context known as « the ambivalence theory ». A brief look at the military judiciary system sheds some light on the processes behind the judging of collaborators. The article unveils some first results of the analysis of 5,000 court cases. The most important finding sofar is the absence of consistency - in time as well as in space - in the judging of collaborators in Belgium.


Steven Dhondt

Luc Huyse

    A drastic change in economie and monetary policy, which started in 1982, has up to now resulted in a normalisation of the rate of inflation and the balance of payments. However, the growth rate of GNP is still low and unemployment high. Budget deficits, public debt and related interest payments are in proportion to GNP between the highest in the industrialised world. Economic events and political constraints hampered the efforts of the government to restore the situation. In 1986 a new plan was introduced and approved by Parliament, confirming an important cut in public expenditures. The existing burden of taxation already leads to a series of negative effects and a small open economycannot stay indifferent against the international movements towards lower taxes. So a tax reform in Belgium can only mean a restructering, leading to a decrease in personal income tax, largely compensated by an increase in indirect taxes. Further cuts in primary public expenditures will be unavoidable, but have to take into account, more than in the past, the repercussions on economie evolution in the long run.


Vic Van Rompuy
Article

Vlaamse Gemeenschap

politiek jaaroverzicht 1986

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 3 1987
Auteurs Jan Van Doren
Samenvatting

    The political agenda for the first year of governing of the second autonomous Fiemish government in the history of the Belgian state, was dominated by the debate concerning the additional financial resources and authorities for the communities and regions. The immediate cause for this, was the extensive saving-plan (Saint-Anna plan) of the national government, which also hit the communities and regions. The final outcome of the debate was the so-called Saint-Catherina agreement, which not only provides a number of savings, but also the transferring of a series of public services and scientific institutions to the communities and regions. A project of decree was agreed to by the Flemish government, which creates a legal scheme for the foundation of a private TV-station in Flanders. In this way they want to cease the monopoly of the publicbroadcasting station «BRT». The bill would only pass the Flemish Parliament in 1987. A number of issues lead to tensions between the Christian-Democrats and the Liberal coalition partners, issues like the affection of green areas around the Brussels agglomerate or the construction of golflinks in Flanders. This contribution ends with a review of a number of important decisions made by the Flemish government on various subjects.


Jan Van Doren

    Organized big business and the government basically upheld the same opinions concerning this action: Belgium being a small open, exporting economy, it could only survive by maintaining stable monetary parities (radically excluding any devaluation of the Belgian franc, till 1935), by defending free trade (even if the Belgian authorities themselves were obliged to take some, albeit moderate, protectionist steps), by pursuing internal deflation and balanced budgets. Nevertheless, these traditional methods were only one aspect of the state's economie activity Juring this period. Due to the severity of the crisis, major parts of the economic structure were on the verge of collapse. Consequently, the state was dragged in a whole new series of interventions: financial aid systems, credit enlargements, stimulation of cartellization, enactment of new legal regulations, organisation of suppletive economie functions, etc. All these measures can be characterized as an « external » framework, intended to secure a safe working of the capitalist system. A second stage in state interventionism, directly influencing the internal mechanisms and modalities of investment, production and consumption, was not reached in Belgium before World War II.


Guy Vanthemsche

    Many factors have a restraining influence on the decision making and the dynamical function of foreign policy. Next to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, there are the Undersecretary for Foreign Trade and the Undersecretary for Development Co-operation. As a result, there is no continuity in policy making. The division of competences is even problematic for the administration. Since 1980, the communities also have international competences, for instance to ratify treaties. These competences are legal and constitutional, although the Central Government tries to cut them down. The strict application of the legal and constitutional prescriptions should undoubtedly simplify the problems.


Frans Baert

    Who makes decisions concerning defence policy in Belgium? Not the public opinion, because otherwise there would be no Cruise missiles. Not the Parliament, because the parliamentarians only ratify international treaties. Not the Minister of Foreign Affairs, because the Minister of Defence makes decisions without contacting Foreign Affairs. Even the Government as a whole and the Prime Minister do not much take care about the defence policy. The so-called experts concerning defence policy are the militaries, the diplomats and the NATO-bureaucrats. Yet, the political problems with respect to the Atlantic Alliance and the division of the European continent, will constrain the politicians to reconsider the basic options of the policy.


Louis Tobback
Article

La prise de décision belge en politique extérieure

cohésion, tensions, controle et influences

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 1 1987
Auteurs Christian Franck
Samenvatting

    Besides classical issues of parliamentary control and pressure groups' influence, coordination between ministers and administrations involved in foreign policy making and harmonization of national foreign policy with external cultural relations led by the french, flemish and german Communities are the major problems belgian foreign policy making has to cope with. Divergences on options or heterogeneity of functional missions (Finance and Third World Cooperation e.g.) require arbitration and cooperative procedures provided by foreign affairs ministerial comitee at the governmental level. Competition for leading role and confrontation of functional paradigms foster «bureaucratic politics» between services. European affairs constitues a major issue for bureaucratic coordination. Attribution to the Communities of assessment power to cultural agreements and reservation to national government of the treaty making power let arise a kind of illogism and a conflict of competences that pragmatic concertation tends to get round. As to parliamentary control, it consists in a greater influence of majority's deputies than in an effective opposition's countervailing power to amend coalition foreign policy. So play pressure groups a role in influencing bilateral much more than multilateral affairs.


Christian Franck
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