Provinces of Belgium


Provinces of Belgium

Belgium is divided into three regions, two of them are subdivided into five provinces each.

The division into provinces is fixed by Article 5 of the Belgian Constitution. The provinces are further subdivided into arrondissements.

Provincial government

The provincial government consists of three main parts: the Governor, an executive council known as the Permanent Deputation ( _nl. Bestendige Deputatie) in the Flemish Region, or as the Provincial College ( _fr. Collège Provincial) in the Walloon Region, and the Provincial Council ( _nl. Provincieraad, the equivalent of a States-Provincial in the Netherlands), which is elected by the inhabitants of the province for a term of office of 6 years. The Permanent Deputations and the Provincial Colleges consist of seven members: the Governor and 6 Deputies elected by the Provincial Council from among its members. The numbers of seats in the Provincial Councils are proportional to the population of the province.

In Flemish Brabant, there is also a Deputy Governor ( _nl. Adjunct van de gouverneur). The Deputy Governor is appointed by the Flemish Government on the unanimous advice of the Federal Council of Ministers and must have a considerable knowledge of both the Dutch and the French language. He is responsible for ensuring that the language legislation is observed in the peripheral municipalities of Flemish Brabant.

Following the Fifth State Reform, the responsibility for the provincial institutions was devolved to the Regions. The Regions have the power to amend or replace the existing legislation on the provincial institutions, most notably the Provincial Law of 30 April 1836. In the Flemish Region the Provincial Decree of 9 December 2005 applies. In the Walloon Region, the Code of Local Democracy and Decentralisation applies. The legal framework in these Regions is still very similar, but that could change in the future. Although the Regions are responsible for the provincial institutions, the Federal State has retained its responsibility over the provinces in certain cases. For instance, the Regions are responsible for the appointment of the Provincial Governors, but only after the unanimous advice of the Federal Council of Ministers. Legislation regarding the Governor and Vice-Governor of Brussels-Capital, and the Deputy Governor of Flemish Brabant, has also remained a federal competency.

Absence of any province in the Brussels-Capitol Region

The Brussels-Capital Region is not a province, neither does it belong to one, nor does it contain any. Within this region, nearly all former provincial competencies are assumed by its regional institutions and by the French Community Commission, the Flemish Community Commission or the Common Community Commission. However, the Arrondissement of Brussels-Capital has two commissioners of the Federal Government who are called 'Governor' and 'Vice-Governor' respectively. This governor exercises most of the few remaining powers elsewhere exercised by a provincial governor, particularly in the field of public order, as far as no (federal) law, (regional) decree, ordonnance or decision states otherwise. [ [http://www.weblex.irisnet.be/data/arccc%5CDoc%5C1997-98%5C100142%5Cimages.pdf Proposal for an ordonnance, stating the Governor's powers for the "arrondissement Brussels"] , the latter should be seen as the part of the arrondissement Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde that is not part of the Flemish Brabant province.]

The Governor is appointed by the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region on the unanimous advice of the Federal Council of Ministers. The regional government also appoints the Vice-Governor, who must have a considerable knowledge of both the French and the Dutch language and who must ensure that the legislation regarding the use of languages is observed in Brussels. [cite web |url=http://www.dekamer.be/kvvcr/pdf_sections/pri/fiche/28E.pdf |title=Factsheet on the Provinces |publisher=The Belgian Chamber of Representatives |accessdate=2007-06-22]

Provinces of the Flemish Region

Provinces of the Walloon Region

11th Province (Eupen-Sankt Vith)

Because the German-speaking Community is located entirely within the Province of Liège, it has been proposed on multiple occasions to create an eleventh province, the Province of Eupen-Sankt Vith, which would comprise the 9 municipalities of the German-speaking Community. Most of the functions carried out by provincial organs would then be exercised by the organs of the German-speaking Community. [cite web |url=http://www.dekamer.be/FLWB/PDF/50/0524/50K0524001.pdf |title=Proposal of Law creating the Province of Eupen-Sankt Vith and a German-speaking electoral circle for the elections of the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate |author=Ferdy Willems and Danny Pieters |date=21 March 2000 |publisher=The Belgian Chamber of Representatives |accessdate=2007-09-02 |language=Dutch and French] [cite web |url=http://www.senate.be/www/?MIval=/publications/viewPubDoc&TID=16778258&LANG=nl |title=Proposal of Law granting all provincial competences to the organs of the German-speaking Community and on the representation of the German language area in the Legislative Chambers |author=Jan Loones (VU) |date=13 July 1995 |publisher=The Belgian Senate |accessdate=2007-09-02 |language=Dutch]

References

External links

* [http://www.vlaamseprovincies.be/ Vereniging van de Vlaamse Provincies] (Association of the Flemish Provinces)
* [http://www.apw.be/ Association des Provinces wallonnes] (Association of the Walloon Provinces)

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