Defying the Traditional Theses: Intergovernmental Relations on Immigrant Integration in Belgium
This article considers the features of intergovernmental relations (IGR) on immigrant integration in Belgium and critically examines the dynamics that shape them. The characteristics of IGR on immigrant integration in Belgium are shown to vary over time and differ across regions and sub-policy areas (immigrant reception policies and anti-discrimination). The comparative case study indicates that the primary traditional theses of the international comparative IGR literature, namely classical institutionalism and party politics, do not provide insights into the nature and mechanisms of IGR on immigrant integration in Belgium. Less established variables like European integration and sub-state claims for distinctiveness constitute key explanatory variables. While European integration explains the increase of IGR over time, notwithstanding the appearance of party incongruence, sub-state claims for distinctiveness enlighten the more conflictual nature of IGR with Flanders, even in cases of more party congruence than for Francophone authorities.