New ministers for Brussels as government formation completes


The Brussels Capital-Region has announced the formation of the next five-year administration, the first of the three regions to complete coalition negotiations following the May elections

Purple-green coalition

The green party is in charge of mobility, and Sven Gatz (Open VLD) has become the first minister of multi-lingualism. Those are two of the notable announcements made this week, as government negotiations came to a close in the Brussels Capital-Region.

Brussels is the first out the starting block to form a regional government following the May elections. It had already been decided last month that Flemish parties Groen, Open VLD and would join French-speaking parties PS, Ecolo and Défi as the ruling coalition, but they had to hammer out a coalition agreement.

The agreement was reached this week, led by minister-president Rudi Vervoort. Complicating negotiations was a discussion as to whether French-speaking liberals MR – Charles Michel’s party – would form part of the ruling coalition. Flemish liberals Open VLD pushed hard for the option, but ultimately lost the battle. Flemish nationalists N-VA and Christian Democrats CD&V are also in opposition.

Some of the main components of the new “purple-green” coalition agreement are:

  • A speed limit of 30kph across the Brussel Capital-Region. Currently this is only the case in Schaerbeek. The inner ring road will be an exception as will key thoroughfares, which will remain 50kph.
  • A guaranteed placement within six months for anyone under 30 who registers with Actiris employment and training agency. This could be a job, an internship or a training.
  • The Capital-Region will be climate neutral by 2050. This means that the amount of CO2 released into the air cannot outweigh the amount of CO2 being processed or stored.
  • The metro network will be extended, including metro line 3 to the Bordet station in Evere. All public transport in Brussels should be free to anyone under the age of 26 as well as to senior citizens
  • A new multi-lingual dossier to promote the use of more than one language, particularly in education

The new ministers and secretaries of the Capital-Region are:

Rudi Vervoort (PS): Minister-president as well as responsible for housing, urban renewal and development, security, tourism and bicultural issues

Elke Van den Brandt (Groen): Minister of mobility, public works, traffic safety, health and social integration. This is one of Brussels’ most challenging and most public dossiers as the city struggles with its world-famous traffic congestion and air quality issues

Alain Maron (Ecolo): Minister of the economy, environment and climate, energy, water, waste management and the port of Brussels. He also shares the health and social integration dossier with Van den Brandt

Bernard Clerfayt (Défi): Minister of labour and training, interior affairs, digitalisation, animal welfare and children’s benefits

Sven Gatz (Open VLD): Minister of finance and budget, civil servants, statistics and the new dossier multi-lingualism. He also shares tourism and bicultural issues with Vervoort.

Pascal Smet (SP.A, also known as State secretary of buildings and heritage, European and foreign affairs and trade, development co-operation and emergency services

Nawal Ben Hamou (PS): State secretary of equal opportunities, social housing and religion

Barbara Trachte (Ecolo): State secretary of economic transition and research

Several of the ministers and secretaries also have seats in the French and Flemish Community Commissions, which oversees the regions’ interests in the Capital-Region.

Photo: Sven Gatz takes the oath as the new budget and finance minister of Brussels. he is also the region’s first minister charged with multi-lingual issues
©Thierry Roge/BELGA