Bipolar federalism and the social welfare state : a case for shared competences
Faculty of Law
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Publius : the journal of federalism. - Philadelphia, Pa, 1971, currens
, p. 1-22
University of Antwerp
Comparative studies on the organization of the welfare state in federal systems have referred to Belgium as a model for future federalism, because of its devolutionary nature. In reality, its dyadic or bipolar nature turns Belgian federalism into a unique and highly unstable experiment. However, as long as Brussels obstructs the exit option, the two linguistic groups are doomed to coexistence. Therefore, for Belgium more so than for any other devolutionary state, accommodating both centrifugal dynamics and the need for cohesion is vital. We argue that although dual federalism, including the equality of federal and sub-federal entities and the exclusive allocation of powers, typifies bipolar federal states, a system of shared powers is more suitable when it comes to matters related to social security.