How Europe shapes the nature of the Belgian Federation. Differentiated EU impact triggers both cooperation and decentralization
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- ISL Working Papers 
Abstract. European integration triggers contrasting views from Belgian political elites. Proponents of con-federalism, further decentralization and separatism point to the decreasing importance of the central government level within a more integrated Europe as well as to the growing relevance of regions within contemporary Europe. Opponents of separatism generally favor a strong central government arguing that Europe will not easily accept separatism and that further decentralization may substantially weaken the European position of Belgium and its regions. This paper aims to clarify the European factor in the ‘Belgian Question’. Our argument consists of two parts. First, we discuss the political-administrative consequences of the institutional interpenetration of the Belgian federation within the EU polity. Second, we explore how European economic integration impacts upon politics within the Belgian federation. Our main conclusion is that both aspects of European integration entail a differentiated outcome; while the first triggers cooperation, the second stimulates ongoing decentralization pressures.
Presentation on department page: http://www.uia.no/no/portaler/om_universitetet/oekonomi_og_samfunnsvitenskap/statsvitenskap_og_ledelsesfag/ forskning_isl/isl_working_papers_series