Belgium: Institutional and Administrative Adaptation but Limited Political Interest
Belgium is usually considered one of the most ‘pro-European Union’ member states, preferring a strong supranational — and even federal — European Union (EU). This pro-EU orthodoxy can be explained by practical factors, such as the omnipresence of European institutions in Brussels; Belgium’s economy, which is largely export oriented; and its federal state structure, which makes living in a multi-level political system seem very natural in Belgium (Justaert et al., 2012). A federalist European policy has been an element of continuity in Belgium’s foreign policy since the 1970s.1 Belgium has advocated a stronger supranational institutional framework and a considerable extension to the ‘Community method’, a strengthened role for the EU at the international level and own financial resources for the EU. Remarkably, Belgium’s federalist stance in the debate on the EU’s institutional structure sharply contrasts with its record of implementation of EU legislation. In 2013, for instance, Belgium had the fourth-worst record of all member states on the timely transposition of EU directives. Similarly, only four other member states had more infringement cases opened against them than Belgium (European Commission, 2014, pp. 4, 11).
KeywordsEuropean Union National Parliament Lisbon Treaty Political Dialogue Constitutional Treaty
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