Egmont pact


Egmont pact

The Egmont pact (Dutch: "Egmontpact", French: "Pacte d'Egmont", German: "Egmont-Pakt") of 1977 is an agreement on the reform of Belgium into a federal state and on the relations between the linguistic communities in the country. [cite book | last = State | first = Paul F. | title = Historical Dictionary of Brussels | publisher = Scarecrow Press | year = 2004 | pages = 100-101 | url = http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ibgwls_TqlkC&pg=PA100&dq=%22Egmont+pact%22&lr=&as_brr=3&client=firefox-a&sig=ACfU3U3GxwaQoUYzFf-06k3cUzY3OrWVyQ | isbn = 0810850753] The pact was not carried out due to the demission of the government, but important elements of the pact were used in later Belgian state reforms.

The pact was agreed in 1977 between the majority parties of the government Tindemans IV, which was a coalition between CVP, PSC, BSP-PSB, Volksunie and FDF. It was named after the Egmont Palace in Brussels, where the negotiations took place.

The pact was supplemented with the "Stuyvenberg agreement" later the same year. Both would be called the "Community pact".

Content

The Egmont pact covered agreements on a number of various topics :
* The establishment of autonomous councils and executives (a government) for the three communities in Belgium (which followed the establishment of the three Cultural Communities in 1970 - Flemish, French and German), next to the establishment of three Regions (Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia), also with autonomous councils and their own executives.
* An agreement on the linguistic relations in Brussels and the periphery, with a.o. the inscription right in Brussels for French speakers from 14 Dutch speaking communes around Brussels. This would give them language facilities and the right to vote in Brussels.
* A reform of the country's institutions.

Failure

The agreement was not put into practice, because there was an immediate protest from the Flemish side. Especially the points on Brussels, where the institutional equality between French and Dutch speakers' communities was ended, were unacceptable for a lot of Flemings.

The advice on the law, that would have put the Egmont pact in practice, on a number of points was heavily criticised by the Council of State. The resistance against the pact rose within the CVP, and more and more MP's demanded new negotiations. These were refused by the French speaking parties. The CVP remained divided. On October 11, 1978, in an emotional speech, PM Leo Tindemans unexpectedly announced the demission of his government.

Consequences

The Egmont crisis had consequences for some Belgian parties. The radical right wing from the "Volksunie" separated itself, leading to the creation of the far right "Vlaams Blok" political party. The last unitary party in Belgium, the socialist BSP-PSB, was split into a French-speaking and a Dutch-speaking party.

Although the Egmont pact itself failed, it was an important exercise towards the federalisation of Belgium. A large part of the goals in the Egmont pact today are carried out ("see Communities, regions and provinces of Belgium"). Other points were not realised, like the division of the electoral district Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde or the inscription right in Brussels for French speakers from the Brussels periphery.

References

"Much of the content of this article comes from the equivalent Dutch-language wikipedia article (retrieved 7 August 2006)."


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