Section 6 Belgium and the Netherlands - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Section 6 Belgium and the Netherlands

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  1. Chapter 6Belgium and the Netherlands Steven B. Wolinetz

  2. Belgium and the Netherlands • Belgium and the Netherlands – similar or different? • History and institutions • Segmentation and its impact • Parties and the party systems • Governing and policy processes • Consensus democracy: sharing space • External dynamics

  3. Belgium and the Netherlands – similar or different? • Both are parliamentary democracies with fragmented multiparty systems • Less similar than they appear • Belgium is a consociational democracy • Netherlands is an ex-consociational democracy

  4. History and Institutions • Netherlands and Belgium united under Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815) • Belgium declared independence in 1830 • Belgium industrialized earlier than the Netherlands • Post-WW2: both countries joined European and international organizations • Netherlands is a unitary state • Belgium has become a federal state

  5. Segmentation and its impact • Both Netherlands and Belgium characterized by pillarization/segmentation • Belgium divided into Catholic, Liberal and Socialist pillars • Netherlands divided into Calvinist, Catholic, Socialist and Liberal pillars • Divides managed through consociationalism • Belgian linguistic conflicts prevail • Clientelism ensures strong parties in Belgian state

  6. Parties and the party system • Both countries have complex multiparty systems • Both countries have proportional representation with low thresholds • Parties divide around religious cleavages, class/ideology cleavages • Rise of anti-immigration and anti-EU sentiment in Netherlands • Rise in electoral volatility • Coalition politics prevails

  7. Governing and policy processes • Holding coalitions together requires tactical sensitivity • Ministers enjoy a large degree of autonomy in the Netherlands • In Belgium parties retain a greater degree of control over their ministers

  8. Consensus democracy: sharing space • National governments share space in both countries: • In the Netherlands, with para-public agencies and social partners • In Belgium, with regional governments • Consensual government; policy change is difficult and slow • Organized capitalism • The Netherlands is a consensus democracy • Belgium is a consociational and consensus democracy • Consensus democracy has prompted a rise in the populist right and anti-establishment parties

  9. External dynamics • Both original members of the EU • Both historically pro-integration, in part as legacy of German invasion • Both economies highly dependent on trade

  10. Conclusions • Dutch citizens appear concerned with government’s governing ability • In Belgium there are concerns over the effectiveness of the police and justice system • Dutch have become more sceptical about EU