Articles

Het dramatisch Eerste Ministerschap van Mark Eyskens : een terugblik na twintig jaar

Author
  • Aloïs Van De Voorde

Abstract

The Christian-democrat/socialist government Martens IV resigned at the end ofMarch 1981, because the socialist party could not agree with an urgency plan to reorganize the public finances.  Mark Eyskens, Minister of Finance in that cabinet, put together a new government as soon as April 6 of the same year. He succeeded as Prime Minister while all the other resigning ministers remained in their function. Minister Robert Vandeputte, an extra-parlementarian and honorary governor of the Central Bank, became the new Minister of Finance.  Like the preceding governments, the Eyskens cabinet was strongly hampered by deep mistrust between the coalition partners, opposing views between the two communities of Belgium and by disagreements about the way to deal with the socio-economic crisis.
The Eyskens cabinet was particularly confronted with the organization of the restructured steelmill Cockerill-Sambre and with the absolute low point of the economic crisis. The budget was strongly affected by the increasing unemployment benefits and the collapse of the fiscal revenues. Due to the continuing protest of the trade unions, Mark Eyskens did not succeed to adapt the automatic wage indexation in order to improve the competitive position ofthe Belgian enterprises. He did however manage to prevent the devaluation of the Belgian franc, which had come under pressure regularly on the financial markets.
By the middle of September 1981 the Eyskens government fell as a result of disagreements between the coalition partners about the financing ofthe money loosing steelmill Cockerill-Sambre in Wallonia.  Parliamentary elections were advanced to November 8, 1981. The Christiandemocrats lost a considerable number of seats. A Christian-democrat/liberal cabinet, again headed by Wilfried Martens, emerged by mid December. It would carry out a neoliberal policy. Mark Eyskens became the Minister of Economic
affairs in the new government.

How to Cite:

Van De Voorde, A., (2000) “Het dramatisch Eerste Ministerschap van Mark Eyskens : een terugblik na twintig jaar”, Res Publica 42(4), p.429-481. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/rp.v42i4.18520

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Published on
30 Dec 2000
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