Heft 16, 3-4 (2023) von EJM ist erschienen
Band 16, 3-4 (2023) von EJM ist erschienen. Er ist dem Jubiläum “50 Jahre Autonomie für die Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft in Ostbelgien” gewidmet und enthält 13 wissenschaftliche Artikel: biblioscout.net/journal/ejm/16/3-4
Beitrag, page 176 - 196
The conceptions of Belgium that lie behind the demands of German-speaking Belgians for the expansion of their autonomy have not yet come into the focus of historical and political science research. What future do they associate with the Belgian state when they claim a community-region or a ‘Belgium of four’? This article attempts to approach this question by analysing four regimes of fear that determine East Belgian discourses: Fear of the past, fear of minorities, fear of being overwhelmed and fear of disintegration. The focus is on four snapshots that concern the media level of this question and allow for a perspective of the long term. At the end, the article asks to what extent the debate about the Day of the German-speaking Community stands paradigmatically for these developments.
What autonomy for the German-speaking Community? Status quo and outlook
Beitrag, page 197 - 214
The Parliament of the German-speaking Community is the successor of the Council of the German Cultural Community, founded in 1973, and celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2023. This is an opportunity for us to examine the current autonomy status of the German-speaking Community: This status is closely linked to the substantive powers vested in the German-speaking authorities, which are discussed in this article, setting also out the legal avenues open to the smallest of the Belgium’s three communities, if it should wish to extend its autonomy.
The place of the German-speaking Community in the case of a Belgian quadripartite model
Beitrag, page 215 - 237
The German-speaking Community aspires to become a Community-Region with competence for all community and regional matters, subject only to negotiation with the Walloon Region concerning those competences which, by way of exception, would still be managed by the latter. This scenario is closely linked to another that would see Belgium simplified more broadly by abandoning its division into communities and becoming composed of just four territorial entities: the Flemish Region, the Walloon Region, the Brussels Region and the German-speaking Region. This study examines the arguments in favour of and objections to the creation of a Belgium of four. It concludes with a more nuanced proposal, which consists of satisfying the request of the German-speaking Community and reducing the scope of the French and Flemish Communities to cultural and educational matters only, while the matters relating to the lives of individuals (health, assistance to individuals) would be removed from these two communities and entrusted to the four territorial entities.
The representation of Belgium’s German-speaking minority at federal and European level
Beitrag, page 238 - 257
This article describes the representation of Belgium’s German-speaking minority at the federal parliamentary and executive level and compares it with its representation at the European level. It can be observed that the opportunities for participation offered by representation at the European level are basically more comfortable than those at the national Belgian level. While the representation of the German-speaking minority in the European Parliament is guaranteed by law, such a guarantee exists in the Belgian Federal Parliament only for the Senate, but not for the more important Chamber of Representatives. At the executive level, the systematic participation of the Government of the German-speaking Community in the preparation and representation of the Belgian position in the Council of the European Union is legally guaranteed, while its possibilities for participation at the inner-Belgian level are de facto given, but not fully established by law. In the conclusions, some perspectives for optimising the representation of the German-speaking minority at federal level are outlined.
Bayenet, Benoît; Bourgeois, Marc
The financing of the German-speaking Community
Beitrag, page 258 - 291
The purpose of this contribution is to analyse, from a legal and budgetary point of view, the sources of financing of the German-speaking Community as provided for in the law of 31st December 1983, as well as the resources resulting from the application of article 139 of the Constitution, which allows the transfer of the exercise of regional competences from Wallonia to the German-speaking Community. This examination makes it possible to evaluate the budgetary and fiscal room for manoeuvre of the German-speaking Community. Lastly, in the event of a new reform of the State to extend the areas of competence of the federated entities even further, several alternative scenarios are conceivable for the German-speaking Community (deepening of Article 139 of the Constitution, creation of a fourth region, simplification of the institutional model towards a four-entity model). The study provides an overview of the respective budgetary and financial impact of these different scenarios.
Velaers, Jan; Bernaerts, Jonathan
German as the language of the Belgian constitution and federal laws and decrees: an eventful history from 1831 to the present day
Beitrag, page 292 - 327
50 years of the German-speaking Community: this must be celebrated. Not only the institutions, powers and resources of the Community deserve our attention, but also, and perhaps above all, the place of the German language in the Belgian state. It is, after all, the language that constitutes the German-speaking Community and its raison d’être. This contribution examines the extent to which German has been recognised as the language of the constitution and of federal laws and decrees throughout history. The story does not begin in 1920, when the Eastern Cantons were annexed, or in 1973, when the German cultural community saw the light of day, but as early as 1831, when the Belgian state was founded. It is a story full of ups and downs, of trial and error, and perhaps the last chapter of this story has not yet been written.
Jenart, Cedric; Weber, Sandra
Importance and development of a German-language legal terminology for Belgium
Beitrag, page 328 - 349
This article looks at the origins, the importance and the development of German legal terminology in Belgium through the Committee of the German-speaking Community for German Legal Terminology. An argument is developed as to why the Terminology Committee is also important for the other official, legal languages in Belgium, i. e. Dutch and French, and how the position of the Terminology Committee and legal terminology in the German-speaking Community affects the understanding of the division of competences in the Belgian federal state. In addition, the reader is guided through the typical discussions and compromises in the Terminology Committee by means of current examples, problems and solutions.
Vandenbossche, Emmanuel; De Backer, Lotte
Place and importance of the German language in the work of the Standing Commission on Language Control
Beitrag, page 350 - 373
This contribution outlines the place of German in the Belgian Constitution and in the administrative language law. Ample attention is paid to the administrative language law concerning the use of languages in the local and regional services of the German-speaking Community and the language knowledge of staff working in these services. Compliance with the aforementioned law is monitored by the Standing Committee on Language Monitoring (SCLM). One member of that Commission is nominated by the Parliament of the German-speaking Community. In order to refine this supervision, a protocol of agreement was concluded between the SCLM and the Ombudswoman of the German-speaking Community, making it possible to quickly and easily forward complaints to the SCLM via the Ombudswoman. None of this can hide the fact that today there is still a systematic disregard for the use of German in government relations not only with private individuals, but also and especially in the dissemination of information.
De Palmenaer, Nicole
Autonomous regions and crisis management
Beitrag, page 374 - 396
In 2020 the COVID-19 Virus pandemic hit the world. Most nation states reacted with restrictive measures that limit freedom of movement and assembly. Only slowly are health systems being strengthened, which were not prepared for this crisis. In Europe, the COVID-19 virus is spreading at different rates and required different responses from nation states to contain the pandemic to protect their populations and safeguard health systems. This article gives the perspective of three autonomous regions on the handling of the world wide health crisis. The German-speaking Community of Belgium, the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-South Tyrol in Italy and the Province of Åland in Finland have a pronounced autonomy status and far-reaching decision-making and executive powers in different areas of life. This paper aims to shed light on the impact of an international health crisis on the decision-making autonomy of these sub-state authorities, whether and how much self-determination the aforementioned autonomous sub-state authorities were able to maintain during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, what role they played in national crisis management, what cooperation took place with the national level and whether they themselves carried out their own crisis management.
Realisations of autonomy design using the example of spatial planning
Beitrag, page 397 - 415
The German-speaking Community took over the legislative competence for spatial planning from the Walloon Region in January 2020. With regard to the organisation of this new competence, a similar pattern of behaviour as in past transfers of competence could be identified. After having negotiated a cooperation agreement with the Walloon Region for certain combined approval procedures, the further development of spatial planning policy was to take place by means of a three-phase model: In phase 1, mainly technical adjustments were made to the legislation in order to ensure the legally secure adoption of the competence. In phase 2, first future-oriented legal adaptations were passed, however remaining within the continuity of the existing system. In a yet to come phase 3, a global reform with tailor-made solutions for the German-speaking Community shall finally take place.
Krings, Alexander; Müllender, Pascale; Stein, Ursula
Autonomy and Regional Development – the Case of “Ostbelgien leben 2025” (Living Eastern Belgium 2025)
Beitrag, page 416 - 437
The German speaking Community in Eastern Belgium continuously implements a growing amount of self-steering capacities. Ever since the year 2007, multi-faceted regional development has been a part of this. The paper shows the efforts of making regional development a co-creative experience and a task undertaken by a variety of stakeholders. In a “reflective team” meeting in December 2022, internal and external experts have discussed the experiences in three subsequent periods of implementation of the initial concept “Ostbelgien leben 2025” (Living Eastern Belgium 2025). Regional development in the German speaking community has been a guideline for governmental practice from its beginning. The process of co-operation in the elaboration of the concept has created networks and procedures which have proven to be helpful even in times of crisis. However, the external experts point to the need of clarifying roles of the authorities of the local communities and the German speaking Community when adding spatial planning to the scope of self-steering whilst the mostly small local communities need more professional planning capacities.
The Permanent Citizens’ Dialogue and the Autonomy of the German-speaking Community in Belgium
Beitrag, page 438 - 447
The autonomy-statute that the German-speaking Community in Belgium received 50 years ago has made it a special case among national minorities and federal entities. There are indeed few such small national minorities with legislative powers. Similarly, there are few such small federal entities that received their statute through a centrifugal decentralisation process. By means of these autonomous institutions, the German-speaking Community has recently also become an exception in the field of citizen participation. By introducing a so-called ‘Permanent Citizen Dialogue’, it became the first entity with legislative powers to associate a deliberative citizen assembly permanently to the works of its parliament. This contribution aims to revisit the interrelationships between the autonomy-statute and the model of permanent citizen deliberation of the Community. In particular, it looks at: (i) How the autonomy statute contributed to the creation of Citizens’ Dialogue? (ii) What the institutionally distinguishing features of the Citizens’ Dialogue are? (iii) What influence the autonomy-institutions have on the functioning of the Citizens’ Dialogue and vice versa?
The German-language citizens’ dialogue from a legal perspective. A special consultation instrument in an uncertain constitutional framework
Beitrag, page 448 - 471
Since 2019, the German-speaking Community has established a legislative framework introducing a process known as “permanent citizen dialogue”, allowing for the periodic creation of assemblies composed of randomly selected citizens. These assemblies are tasked with deliberating on specific issues and making recommendations to the parliamentary assembly of the Community, which is then obligated to debate and give an opinion on each of them. However, the institutionalization of the German-speaking citizen dialogue has occurred in a murky constitutional environment. While the decree does not grant decision-making power to the citizen assemblies, it endows them with novel procedural prerogatives concerning the Parliament. In this contribution, we explore the legal characteristics of this deliberative process, highlighting the uncertainties at the level of the Belgian constitutional framework.