Zoekresultaat: 8 artikelen

Jaar 1982 x

    Participation is more than «have a voice in the decision-making process. It is reached when this kind of consultation results in an effective influence upon the decision itself. Have a voice in the matter is, on theother hand, more than information that, in its turn, consists of two streams: one from the top to the bottom, and one from the bottom to the top. The loss of communal mandatories as a consequence of the amalgamation in 1976 has stressed the necessity of expanding this kind of political activity of the citizens. Comparison between a field research of 1975 and one of 1982 makes clear that there is an increase of information activity in the communes, mostly however of the kind that doesnot invite to active participation. There also is an increase of participation-councils but it is rather impossible to compare the effect of this kind of participatory activity with researchresults of the past. In comparison with other European countries there is found a large arrears in territorial decentralization and direct citizen decision-making. For the future it is asked to write in the new communal law the obligation for communes to organize participation activities and to give the citizens a guarantee of participation.

Herman Wuyts

    While the population expected a quantitative improvement in municipal management, there was, from the outset, a fear of greater centralisation. The policy makers aften did not seem up to their tasks through the lack of experience and because of favouritism. This often led to dissension between the sub-municipalities. Centralisation did not improve the services, unless the council produced the necessary creativity. Difficult problems in the amalgamation concerned the shifting of the financial repercussions ofthe amalgamation onto the population, the further construction of the road system and the infrastructure policy, the restructuring of education, the giving of new stimuli to the social policy, and the involvement of the organisational life in policy formation. The balance can turn positive if the municipal administrations are better assisted, if the demographic decline is halted, if more financial support appears, if the participation of the population is increased, and if more pluralism is achieved in socio-cultural and educational matters.

Eddy Baldewijns

    The fear that the border municipalities would be overwhelmed by the larger entity of the central city of Ghent was countered by a number of accompanying measures such as the stimulation of organised activities, the offering of opportunities for participation, and the provision of decentralised services. The equitable representation of the sub-municipalities in the new administrative organs and the opportunities for contact that derived therefrom reassured the residents of the outskirts. The effortwas made with the reorganisation of the municipal apparatus to achieve a balance between external decentralisation and internal centralisation. In spite of an increasingly difficult financial situation, Ghent has succeeded 'up till now in maintaining a balanced budget. The amalgamation certainly had a negative impact in this regard, probably primarily because of the increased personnel costs. The amalgamation of the Ghent agglomeration can, however, be considered a success. The preparatory time for such a profound reorganisation was too brief, however. An adequate administrative model, rationalisation of the financial situation, application of the municipal law, and implementation of modern working methods are factors that loom large for the optimisation of the developmental chances of an amalgamated large city.

Placide De Paepe

    The city of Bruges went through an amalgamation operation already in 1971. The number of personnel increased considerably, though there was no question of a surplus. This increase is only partially to be ascribed to the amalgamation. The integration of the personnel from the formel municipalities proceeded quite well, although the coordination had to be improved on some points. On the political level, all of the former municipalities are represented with a predominance of the outskirts. For the provision of services, a decentralised approach was chosen. Except for centralisation of the Registry for Births, Deaths, and Marriages, the ordinary administrative services were decentralised to the former municipal halls. The financial capacity increased steadily, which was necessary to cover the greater financial needs, which can be reduced to the supplementary expenses resulting from the amalgamation, which brought with it an expansion of the task package. On the level of the input and participation facilities, functional and territorial advisory councils were created, which function quite satisfactorily. Neighbourhood meetings are organised on the occasion of large projects. Globally, the Bruges amalgamation succeeded. A more flexible supervisory authority would be able to give more efficiency and effectiveness to the policy.

Raymond Reynaert

    The amalgamation in the small urban centre, for which Bree is chosen as an example, may be considered to have been a success partially because a number of general principles with respect to the amalgamation operation were respected. The socio-cultural differences existing between the submunicipalities could be bridged, which was not the case with other amalgamations. The municipal policy rests to a large extent on the concept of decentralisation and the participation of the citizen. Decentralisation was made concrete both with regard to the provision of services and with regard to the investments in the various centres. The participation of the citizen was implemented by hearings held systematically in the residential areas. The amount of personnel was reduced slightly in spite of the increased municipal tasks. This reduction was made possible by greater efficiency in the use of personnel and by better equipment. Financially, the municipality is having no difficulties, the budget is balanced, and theaccounts show a surplus.

Jaak Gabriëls

    Since the mid-sixties an important change in the attitude of local authorities towards cultural infrastructure such as meeting halls, public libraries, sporting accommodation, etc. can be noticed. Induced by the government many state-subsidized initiatives have been taken in this field, implicating an active role of public authorities and contrasting with the former merely supporting policy. However cultural policy also supposes citizen's participation. This involvement has been legally guaranteed: every ideological tendency in the population bas the right to participate in the management of public provisions in the cultural sector. Up to now the scale enlargement of the municipalities had no directimpact on the expansion of the cultural infrastructure. Many options were decided before the mergers and since 1977 the crisis in public finance lead to other priorities. The participatory structures have been reorganized on the level of the new municipalities, thus creating a social distance to the grass roots.

Frank Delmartino

    The splitting of the Belgian Socialist Party into two autonomous parties for Flanders and Wallonia in 1978 stressed the earlier observed trend to abandon the procedure of internal pre-elections for the purpose of composing the parliamentary candidate-lists. The technique of the so-called party-polls is welt respected in the French speaking socialist party (Wallonia), but almost completely abandoned in Flanders, where it has been replaced by arrondissemental congresses. Besides, members' participation in these polls, if organised, is rather low.

Jan Ceuleers

    Most research reveals that television mainly confirms and re-inforces the existing party-preferences. Despite these findings, public opinion and especially politicians still believe in the direct effect of television on voter-decisions. Same researchers, among whom E. Noelle-Neumann, have given empirical evidence of strong influence of television on voter attitudes hut their findings have been widely contested. In recent years the topic is approached in a different way. The role of television in election campaigns was assessed in a broader context in combination with other social factors and attention was no langer focused on the short term effect. The very high exposure to election programmes on television raises questions of motivation and use: for information, for entertainment, or as by-product of the television attachment. These different motivations imply different uses and consequently different effects, presenting a dillemma for broadcasters and politicians who have to produce programmes for all types of viewers. Many authors claim however that both broadcasters (because of ratings) and politicians (because of the increasing number of floating voters) give in to the spectacular-entertainment side: more exciting debates, more shows, more uniformization of the political message. It should be stressed however, that television being the main source of political communication inelection periods, it can also re-open the issue of participation. Reinforcement of party-preference through television viewing can have a mobilizing effect, as latent party-preference can be turned into manifest voting behaviour. Finally the rules of the publicly controlled broadcasting institutions concerning election campaigns have undoubtedly had an institutional effect; access and viewing-time are alloted according to the relative strength of political parties.

Els De Bens
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