Integratie van het OCMW in de gemeente: het bipolaire model onder druk

Lisa Embo, Mathias De Potter, Ward Diependaele, Robin Verbeke (masterstudenten Grondige Studie Grondwettelijk Recht, UGent), Pieter Cannoot (assistent, UGent) en Juan Benjumea Moreno (assistent, UGent)

See English version here

OCMW schema _ NLDe Openbare Centra voor Maatschappelijk Welzijn (hierna de OCMW’s) staan op het punt om structurele veranderingen te ondergaan. De OCMW’s gaan immers niet langer een aparte entiteit uitmaken op gemeentelijk niveau, maar zullen in de toekomst deel gaan uitmaken van het gemeentelijk organigram zelf, met een eventueel uitzonderingsrecht voor de centrumsteden. Dit is een van de doelstellingen van het Vlaams regeerakkoord van 2014. De integratie zou tegen 2019 een feit moeten zijn. Of men deze ambitieuze doelstelling zal bereiken, is echter nog maar de vraag, want nu al rijzen de eerste problemen omtrent deze integratie. Allereerst is het nog niet duidelijk geworden hoe de operatie juridisch zal verwezenlijkt worden. Dit en nog tal van andere vragen zullen het onderwerp uitmaken van talloze discussies in de Vlaamse regering, de lokale besturen en zeker ook op federaal niveau.

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Integration of the Public Centres for Social Welfare in the municipality: the bipolar model under pressure

Lisa Embo, Mathias De Potter, Ward Diependaele, Robin Verbeke (Master Students, Advanced Study Constitutional Law, Ghent University), Pieter Cannoot (assistant, Ghent University) and Juan Benjumea Moreno (assistant, Ghent University)

OCMW schema _ ENThe Flemish government plans a vast structural reform of the Public Centres for Social Welfare (PCSW).  The PCSWs will no longer be a separate local entity, but will be integrated into the local administrations. An exception will possibly be provided for certain central cities. This is one of the main objectives of the current Flemish government, which they wish to achieve by 2019. The integration is a very ambitious project, as proven by the problems that have already arisen. For example, the Flemish government is yet to agree on how to integrate the PCSWs into the local administrations. This and other similar issues are expected to become the subject of numerous future discussions in the federal, regional and local governments.

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Belgium and the refugee crisis: the quest for solutions

Yves Ballez, Ariadne Frangi, Thomas Ngeze and Dorien Surinx (master students Advanced Study Constitutional Law, Ghent University), Pieter Cannoot (assistant, Ghent University) and Juan Benjumea Moreno (assistant, Ghent University)

See Dutch version below

naamloosAccording to the UN refugee agency UNHCR the sad record of nearly 60 million forcibly displaced people has been reached. The conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen have created a flow of refugees, which is more and more moving towards the EU. This influx obviously leads to significant challenges. International law after all dictates that states bear an important responsibility towards these refugees. Hence, the EU should also provide a powerful, common and effective answer to this crisis.

The presence of refugees in Europe has certainly got governments thinking, especially with regard to social rights. “Either open borders and coordinated migration or a closed social security system” N-VA chairman  Bart De Wever stated. Should the Geneva Convention indeed be updated? Can we tackle this problem structurally and on a European level, for example by guarding the external borders more severely and distributing asylum applications proportionally? Or should Belgium take its own precautions by implementing a separate social status for refugees?

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België en de vluchtelingencrisis: de zoektocht naar oplossingen

Yves Ballez, Ariadne Frangi, Thomas Ngeze en Dorien Surinx (masterstudenten Grondige Studie Grondwettelijk Recht, UGent), Pieter Cannoot (assistent, UGent) en Juan Benjumea Moreno (assistent, UGent)

Volgens VNnaamloos-vluchtelingenorganisatie UNHCR hebben we het trieste recordaantal van bijna 60 miljoen gedwongen ontheemden bereikt. De conflicten in Syrië, Irak en Jemen zorgen voor een vluchtelingenstroom die meer en meer richting de Europese Unie trekt. Uiteraard leidt deze toestroom tot belangrijke uitdagingen. Staten dragen  op grond van het internationaal recht immers een belangrijke verantwoordelijkheid ten aanzien van vluchtelingen. Bovendien dient de EU een krachtig, gemeenschappelijk en effectief antwoord te bieden op deze crisis. De aanwezigheid van vluchtelingen in Europa zet de regeringen alvast aan het denken, zo ook op het terrein van de sociale rechten. “Het is ofwel open grenzen en gecoördineerde migratie, ofwel gesloten sociale zekerheid ” luidde het bij N-VA voorzitter Bart De Wever. Dient de Conventie van Genève inderdaad geüpdatet te worden? Kunnen we dit probleem gestructureerd aanpakken op Europees niveau, door bijvoorbeeld de buitengrenzen strenger te bewaken en de asielaanvragen evenredig te verdelen? Of moet België dan maar zelf voorzorgsmaatregelen nemen door een apart sociaal statuut voor vluchtelingen in te voeren?

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The Determinants of Emergency Constitutions

Prof. Dr. Stefan Voigt, Director Institute of Law & Economics, University of Hamburg

Prof. Dr. Christian Bjørnskov, Aarhus University

Today, some 90 per cent of all constituconstitutional-destructiontions worldwide contain explicit provisions for how to deal with states of emergency. And they are used quite frequently. Between 1985 and 2014, at least 137 countries declared a state of emergency at least once. Under a state of emergency, some individual rights and liberties are usually suspended and the separation of powers is curtailed in favour of the executive or even a single person like the head of state or government and, by implication, to the detriment of parliament and the courts. Given that states of emergency can be crucial moments for the development of entire countries and taking into consideration how frequently they are used, it is amazing how little we know about constitutional emergency provisions.

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Measuring the Rule of Law and Identifying Its Determinants

Prof. Dr. Stefan Voigt, Director Institute of Law & Economics, University of Hamburg

There is an almost universal consensus that the rule of law is desirable. Given this enthusiasm, it is remarkable how little is known about the factors conducive to it. A precondition for improving our knowledge of the rule of law is the ability to measure it. In a paper recently posted on the internet, together with Jerg Gutmann I set out to do just that. Based on very extensive data from a survey carried out in 99 countries, we propose a new indicator for the rule of law. It is the first such indicator that explicitly takes the quality of legal norms into account. If the rule of law means that legislation is general and applies to all individuals in a like fashion, taking the characteristics of the law explicitly into account seems crucial.

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Recent developments in Scotland’s and Catalonia’s struggle for independence

See Dutch version below

Vicky Vanhoutte, Kris Merckx, Laurent De Clercq and Hannes Speeckaert (Master students Advanced Study Constitutional Law, UGent), Pieter Cannoot (assistant, UGent) and Juan Benjumea Moreno (assistant, UGent)

Several member states of the European Union have been confronted with increasing demands for subnational regionalisation in the past few years. The origin of these independence movements is closely related to the political and economic context of a region. Therefore, the constitutional road towards independence is complex. The differences between Scotland and Catalonia in their process to potential independence exemplify this perfectly. In the wake of the historic year 2014, this post provides an overview of the recent developments in the Scottish and Catalan independence movements.

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Recente ontwikkelingen in het onafhankelijkheidsstreven van Schotland en Catalonië

Vicky Vanhoutte, Kris Merckx, Laurent De Clercq en Hannes Speeckaert (masterstudenten Grondige Studie Grondwettelijk Recht, UGent), Pieter Cannoot (assistent, UGent) en Juan Benjumea Moreno (assistent, UGent)

Verschillende lidstaten van de Europese Unie worden de laatste jaren geconfronteerd met een steeds toenemende vraag naar sub-statelijke regionalisering. Steeds meer regio's streven immers naar meer autonomie, of zelfs onafhankelijkheid. De oorsprong van dit onafhankelijkheidsstreven hangt nauw samen met de  politieke, historische en economische context van een regio. De grondwettelijke weg naar onafhankelijkheid is dan ook geen eenduidig gegeven. De verschillen tussen Schotland en Catalonië in hun proces naar een mogelijke onafhankelijkheid vormen hiervan het perfecte bewijs. Na het historische jaar 2014, biedt dit bericht een overzicht van de recente ontwikkelingen in het Schotse en Catalaanse onafhankelijkheidsstreven.

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Challenges to democracy in the 21st century – Interview with Yves Leterme

Yves Leterme is a well-known Belgian politician. Since 2014, he has been Secretary-General of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA). On the 12th of October 2015, BelConLawBlog celebrated its one year existence. For this occasion we welcomed Yves Leterme to give a lecture about the challenges to democracy in the 21st century. Karen Poppeliers, master student of the Advanced Study Constitutional Law (Ghent University), further discussed the topic with mr. Leterme, which led to a very interesting interview.

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Right to happiness: a new constitutional approach

Saul Tourinho Leal, Visiting researcher at SAIFAC, PhD in Constitutional Law and President of the "Sub-Committee on Foreign Relations with South Africa" of the Brazilian Bar Association.

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Justice Albie Sachs, when closing his presentation in The College of Law’s Ray Distinguished Lecture at the University of Kentucky on April 12, 2013, stated that he believed that the establishment of the Constitution of South Africa by the Constitutional Court “brought a lot of happiness and a lot of emancipation to many people". Would it be a role of the Judiciary to assure happiness for the people? Is it appropriate for a Supreme Court to consider happiness to be a right?

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