What - If anything - Can the European Union learn from Belgian federalism and vice versa?

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Abstract / Description of output

This article highlights the similarities and differences between Belgium and the EU as multi-level polities and indicates what they might learn from each other. The comparison focuses on (dis)similarities in the internal structure of the components that form the multilevelled polity, in the processes of central decision-making and in the institutional framework at large. I argue that plural multi-level polities can be more easily sustained if their centre respects the linguistic and territorial integrity of the constituent entities, central decision making rules are 'majority-constraining' and institutional adaptation takes the character of piecemeal reform. Facing growing electoral discontent, leaders in both polities must confront the challenge of maintaining a sufficiently strong centre, while at the same time fostering inter-segmental cooperation in order to stimulate the gradual creation of a trans-segmental public sphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-204
Number of pages18
JournalRegional & Federal Studies
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2005

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