Roundtable participants discussing how to reach agreements and conflict resolutions at the federal, regional, community and municipal levels held in Brussels
Participants at the Forum of Federations’ Global Dialogue roundtable in Brussels debated new ideas for improving Belgium’s federal system.
Among the suggested reforms were holding the country’s regional and federal elections on the same day. Another idea was to create some electoral districts for members of parliament in which parties from all language groups would be on the ballot.
The official languages in Belgium are Flemish/Dutch, French and German.
The exchange of ideas was part of a roundtable discussion on the theme of Political Parties and Civil Society in Federal Countries.
The highlight of the discussion was the exchange among the key players from political parties and civil society organizations explaining how parties reach political agreements and resolve conflicts at the federal, regional, community and municipal levels.
Participating in the roundtable were three former party vice-chairpersons, a former regional prime minister, a former federal deputy prime minister, a regional parliamentary group leader, two chiefs of staff of deputy prime ministers, and a deputy speaker of the federal Senate.
Participants at the roundtable event included Lieven De Winter, professor, Catholic University of Louvain; Caroline Van Wynsberghe, researcher, Catholic University of Louvain; Hugo Vandenberghe, First Vice-President of the Senate; Philippe Monfils, Senator and cabinet minister; Kris Deschouwer, professor, Free University of Brussels; Kurt Vandaele, researcher, European Trade Union Institute; Sandra Rosvelds, head of studies, ACW (umbrella group of employee organizations); Wilfried Swenden, senior lecturer University of Edinburg; Jean-BenoÃ®t Pilet, professor, Free University of Brussels; Regine Kramer, policy co-ordinator for institutional affairs, Assembly of European Regions; Isabelle Praile, executive vice-president, Muslims of Belgium; Bernadette Lambrechts, former chief of staff, Centre Democrate Humaniste (a Belgian political party); Chris Serroyen, head of research, Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (ACV-CSC); RÃ©gis Dandoy, researcher, Free University of Brussels; Thierry Bodson, Walloon interregional general secretary, Trade Union Central (FGTB); Dave Sinardet, Postdoctoral researcher, Fund for Scientific Research (FWO) / part-time professor, University of Antwerp; Dirk Van Melkebeke, chief of staff, Socialistische Partij Anders (SPA) a Flemish political party; AndrÃ© Flahaut, vice president, Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste); Pierre Verjans, lecturer, University of Liege; Pierre Baudewyns, researcher, Catholic University of Louvain; Stefaan Walgrave, professor, University of Antwerp; Carl Devos, lecturer, University of Ghent; and Sven Gatz, party chairman, Open VLD (Flemish Liberals and Democrats).
The event was held on Oct. 30, 2009 in Brussels, with Prof. Lieven De Winter of the Catholic University of Louvain as co-ordinator.