Historical constitution reforms will create “a new Belgium”
Yesterday seven political parties in the federal coalition government (and the opposition) signed a landmark constitutional reform that hands over many responsibilities to the regions
Federal responsibilities handed over to regions
The federal government took two years to reach agreement on the wide-reaching changes, which will shift many powers from the federal government to the regions and language communities. Among the many changes in responsibilities are determining child allowances, controlling the job market and running homes for the elderly.
Prime minister Elio Di Rupo is confident that the new reforms will bring political stability to the country following several years of uncertainty. “Over the past two years, our country has evolved from a country in crisis to a stable land that has gained more international credibility,” he said during yesterday’s ceremony. “Once the sixth state reform takes effect, we will have a new Belgium.”
State secretary for state reform Servais Verherstraeten added that “the eight political parties and the federal government have finished their part of the job and are now handing over the baton to the regional governments”. He added on his Twitter account: “From the cradle to the grave, the regions are now responsible.”
Flanders minister-president Kris Peeters (pictured above with Elio di Rupo) praised the reforms as “a turning point in the history of this country and its regions and communities.” On his Twitter account, he noted: “Following the reforms, the regions now have the power to make their own decisions to create a strong economic policy and efficient government. No time to lose!”
Photo credit: Thierry Roge /BELGA
population of Belgium in millions of people, with 6.2 million living in Flanders.
number of state reforms that have resulted in the federal system as it is today.
number of years for which the federal House of Representatives and the Senate are elected.