EUelections 2019: Elections in Belgium – towards another world record?

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Belgium is known over the world for fries, chocolate and the intricacy of its political system. It looks as if the country might be able to secure a new spot in the history books after the elections of May 2019. Belgians voted for the European, general and regional elections on the same day, and some of the electoral results were largely unexpected.

Belgium is a federal state. There is a central government by and large in charge of security and defence, international affairs and social security. There are also three communities and three regions. The three communities (French-speaking, Flanders and German-speaking) are particularly responsible for education. The three regions (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels) are supervising the economy, employment and energy. Czytaj więcej

BLACKOUT IN BELGIUM

QUENTIN GENARD

Belgium faces a severe risk of electrical blackout during this winter. Half of the electricity produced in Belgium comes from the seven nuclear reactors built during the 1950s. Since spring, these have encountered problem after problem. Two reactors had to be shut down because of micro-cracks discovered in vessels while a third one has been closed in July due to sabotage. They are intended to remain closed during all winter. Belgium suffers from particularly stringent bad luck but the small country is only the tip of the iceberg of a complicated situation in Europe. Czytaj więcej

BELGIUM HAS A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. BUT AT WHAT COST?

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‘I pledge fidelity to the King, obedience to the Constitution and to the laws of the Belgian people’. Saying these words, 14 members of Michel I’s government took office on Saturday 11th of October 2014. For many, this government is particularly interesting. The following article will explain why exactly it is so and will present briefly its already rich history.

When last time Belgian politicians sat together at the negotiation table to discuss the program of the governmental action in 2010 it took 541 days to strike a deal. Events of the weeks following the elections, which took place on May 25th, were carefully observed by the Belgian and European media. As described in the previous article, this time the political landscape was quite different though – economic not institutional reforms were the main topic on the agenda. As far as economy is concerned, right-wing parties from the North and the South have quite a lot in common. The government was formed in ‘only’ 139 days. The country didn’t cease to function normally thanks to a caretaker government, which, although deprived of its parliamentary legitimacy and thus not allowed to make any major political decisions, was able to manage daily operations. However, given that beggars can’t be choosers, the constitutional scope of ‘caretaking’ was extended to a very broad meaning. So broad that Belgium sent F-16 fighters to fight Islamic State at a time when it still didn’t have a fully-fledged government. In cases like that, the Parliament adopts a resolution authorising the care-taking government to act. Czytaj więcej

ELECTIONS IN BELGIUM: ONE MONTH LATER, BEGINNING OF THE END OR END OF THE BEGINNING?

QUENTIN GENARD

According to the tradition of Belgian politics, the most successful political party leads the talk to build a government coalition. In the first move, it should consult every party that presented itself to the voters and got a reasonably good score, as well as social partners. After this first warm-up exercise, the leaders announce starting negotiations with some other political parties, already named. The bargaining would be about the writing of a “Declaration of Regional/Belgian Politics”. This text is the vertebral spin of the next five years: the policies that will be implemented are laid down and discussed among future partners and the reference to the Declaration is most of the time considered as an authoritative argument. The term “partner” is used as it is extremely rare in Belgian politics that the talks fail and that negotiations resume with other political parties. It only happened for the federal government. What is then the status of the different negotiations? Czytaj więcej

EUROPEAN AND BELGIAN ELECTIONS D-DAY+1: A LOOK AT THE RESULTS

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Brr. Brr. My phone is ringing. « Hallo? Want to have a walk? ». I just woke up… The voice on the phone is quite enthusiastic. It’s, that’s not common… « OK, I’ll take my camera and will join you ». 21°C. Mhhh Goods news. May, 25th. Oh it’s elections day! Hopefully, the European Parliament set up giant reminders for people like me. Czytaj więcej

What do we celebrate in Belgium, and why?

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Logo-federation-wallonie-bruxellesOn September 27th, (a part of) Belgium will celebrate! Many cultural events (theatre, sports, concerts…) will be organised throughout Brussels and Wallonia for Belgian residents who will enjoy them because of bank holiday. This time, the King will not be the centre of attention, but the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. Since 1993 indeed, Belgium is officially a federation but the so-called linguistic communities were created well before: the French Community (former name of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation) is indeed celebrated since its foundation in 1981. Celebration days, as everything else related to politics in Belgium are not neutral: they encompass a specific story that tells long about the spirit that describes Belgian politics. This short article intends to present some of today’s strong tendencies.

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The abdication of King Albert II of Belgium: a worsening factor in an already turbulent political life?

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Palais_royal_de_Bruxelles_-_nocturne_25At 6PM on July 3rd, the King of the Belgians, Albert II, announced his will to abdicate on July 21st, 2013 (Belgian national day). This is not a complete surprise as the rumour was in the air since March but no bookmaker would have bet on today. However, and this is symptomatic of his reign, the date was carefully chosen: an agreement was reached Monday on the periodical review of the federal budget between the federal, the regional and the community levels, and we are several months before the 2014 federal elections which already promise much work to commentators of the Belgian heated political life.

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