Language legislation in Belgium
The language legislation in Belgium regulates the use of the three official languages Dutch, French and German in Belgian public life. While Article 30 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Belgium provides for the free use of languages for private individuals, the public services of the state must observe a number of rules that affect the use of languages within the services as well as between the various services and towards the citizen. In particular, language laws are addressed to legislators, administrations, courts, armed forces and teaching staff in Belgium.
Belgian language legislation is one of the consequences of the Flemish-Walloon conflict that has arisen since the beginning of the Flemish Movement in the mid-19th century between the Dutch- speaking Flemings in northern Belgium and the French-speaking Walloons in the south. The aim of these laws was a gradual equality of the Dutch and French languages.
The use of languages remains a sensitive issue in Belgium and regularly leads to heated political arguments. This applies above all to the use of languages in the bilingual area of Brussels , in the suburbs of Brussels and the " facility communes " in the border area between Flanders and the Walloon Region and in particular to the language facilities (facilities) for the population there.
Today's legislation on the use of languages arose or should be understood historically from the language dispute and the Flemish movement.
Freedom of speech after the Belgian Revolution
When Belgium seceded from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands during the Belgian Revolution in 1830 , the language policy of King Wilhelm I , who had a predominance of the Dutch over the French language in the Flemish provinces ( Antwerp , Limburg , East Flanders and West Flanders ) and abolished , among other things Wished to fortify bilingual Brabant in 1823 , but was rejected by the francophone bourgeoisie in Brussels and in the other large cities of Flanders.
As a reaction to this language policy, freedom of language was set out in Article 23 of the Belgian Constitution as early as 1831 (today Article 30, see below). It quickly became apparent that this freedom applied primarily to French, to the detriment of Dutch. Only French was an option for the public authorities. The Provisional Government decided on November 16, 1830, before the constitution was passed, that French would be the only language in the armed forces and in the publication of legal and regulatory texts in the State Gazette . Even in the early foreign relations of the young state, the diplomats only use French. Thus, apparently nothing stood in the way of the “Frenchization” of Belgian civil society - especially since census voting still applied at that time , and thus in fact only male representatives of the upper bourgeoisie and the aristocracy participated in state affairs. Former Prime Minister Charles Rogier left no doubt about it in 1837: La Belgique sera latine ou ne sera pas (“Belgium will be Latin or not at all”).
Beginnings of the Flemish Movement
In the Flemish provinces, the majority of the lower strata of the population almost exclusively used the Dutch language in the form of various Flemish dialects . However, as this population was not eligible to vote, the Dutch language had no influence on public life. However, in the years after the revolution, some Flemish intellectuals who had developed a romantic relationship with the Dutch language formed the so-called Flemish Movement, which gradually wanted to establish greater use of the Dutch language in Flanders. One of them is Hendrik Conscience , who published his work De Leeuw van Vlaenderen in 1838 . This movement was fueled, among other things, by unfortunate incidents such as the execution of two Flemings falsely accused of murder who were convicted in a French jury trial in 1860 , although they did not speak a word of French and thus could not defend themselves (the "Coucke-und -Goethals "affair).
Specific demands for better recognition of the Dutch language in public life were made as early as 1840 on the occasion of a “Pétitionnement en faveur de la langue flamande” . In 1856 the “Grievencommissie” was set up, an organ that was supposed to look for solutions to the language problem. This body proposed bilingualism for Flanders, but the government continued to ignore this.
First language laws
The first language laws in Belgium were only passed twenty years later. The “Coremans Law” of August 17, 1873, named after the Flemish politician Edward Coremans , which - as a reaction to the “Coucke-und-Goethals” affair - the principle use of Dutch in criminal proceedings in the Flemish provinces. This law is considered to be one of the first victories of the Flemish Movement. This was followed by two other language laws: the law of May 22, 1878 (“Delaet Law”) on the use of Dutch in Flanders in contacts between citizens and the administration and the law of June 15, 1883 (“Coremans-De Vigne- Law ”), which allowed the use of the Dutch language in state secondary education in the Flemish provinces. However, these laws always provided for extensive exception clauses if the person concerned wanted to speak French. Further laws that gradually promoted bilingualism in public life followed.
A breakthrough for the Dutch language came with the passage of the so-called "Equality Act" (or "Coremans De Vriendt Act") of April 18, 1898. In this law, the Dutch language was officially given the same rights as French, since from now on all laws in French and Dutch had to be passed and published; bilingualism in Belgium was consolidated. It is no coincidence that this only succeeded after a reform of the electoral law, which abolished the census suffrage in 1893 and gave all male citizens over 25 years of age at least one vote (some citizens, however, received several votes, depending on taxable income, education, status, etc. .); the Flemish proletariat thus represented a real political weight for the first time. Nevertheless, this still did not change the fact that French remained the language of the rulers in Brussels. For example, it wasn't until May 3, 1967, that an official Dutch version of the Belgian constitution was published. In addition, the passing of this law, in return, fueled the so-called "Wallonia Movement", which arose in Wallonia as a reaction to the growing Flemish awareness.
After further recognition of the Dutch language in public life (1910: Dutch language in Catholic education; 1913 and 1928: first steps for Dutch in the Belgian armed forces; see below), another victory for the Flemings was the complete “Vernederlandsing” of the University of Ghent in 1930. Although the first Dutch- speaking university was founded in Ghent in 1916, this was done on the instructions of the German occupiers during World War I , who had plans to annex Belgium further and wanted to use the Flemish-Walloon antagonism for their own purposes. The university was named “Université von Bissing ” in French-speaking circles and its visit was considered civil disobedience .
After its defeat in the First World War, Germany had to transfer the two districts of Eupen and Malmedy , now known as Ostbelgien , to Belgium as part of the Versailles Treaty (1919) and in the course of a questionable, not free referendum . Remarkably, however, no special language laws applied to these new areas, and the Belgian government even tried in 1926 to return the territory to the German Reich for 200 million gold marks. However, this attempt failed because of French opposition. While in the so-called "Malmedy communities" (Malmedy and Weismes), despite having belonged to Prussia and the German Empire for almost a century, the majority of the population was Walloon, the areas around Eupen and Sankt Vith had a majority German-speaking population. In the local administrations, however, after the definitive incorporation into Belgian territory, French was spoken.
The German and Luxembourgish- speaking minority in the area of Arlon was not given a special linguistic status either, although the area had belonged to Belgium since the state was founded.
Definition of the language border
The origins of the Belgian language border can be found in a law of July 31, 1921. This law provided that the local authorities, i. H. especially the municipalities in the Flemish provinces had to use the Dutch language. The communities in the Brussels agglomeration and the province of Brabant could determine their own language. Thus, in fact, the first division of Belgium into language areas was created and the principle "streektaal is bestuurstaal" (area language is administrative language), also known as the "territoriality principle", was enshrined in law. On the other hand, the law also provided for bilingualism for all services of the Brussels central administration. However, the law was poorly applied. The non-definitive nature of this first language border also posed a problem: a ten-year language census (Ndl. Taaltelling , French rescensement linguistique ) allowed a community along the language border to fall into a different language area if the majority of languages were used. There were also still numerous exemptions for francophones, such as the possibility of language relief for the minority if 20% of the voters in a municipality asked for it.
The law of 1921 was just as unsatisfactory for the Flemings, who criticized the excessive remaining facilities for Francophones and feared the Frenchization of Brussels , as it was for the Walloons, who were forced to learn Dutch because of the bilingualism in the central services. So the existing regulation was changed by a new law of July 14, 1932. The principle of territoriality was strengthened: in Flanders and Wallonia all authorities were monolingual, in Brussels bilingualism. Bilingualism in the central services was abolished again. However, the language border was still not definite and could shift based on the results of the ten-year language census. But now it had to be 30% of the citizens of a minority to demand language facilitation. In the same breath, two other language laws were passed: one in the judiciary (1935) and the other in the armed forces (1938). These last two laws are still applicable today, in a modified form (see below).
The results of the 1947 language census were so disappointing to the Flemish Movement that they were not published until 1954. According to these results, the Brussels agglomeration has now been expanded to include the municipalities of Ganshoren , Evere and Berchem-Sainte-Agathe / Sint-Agatha-Berchem , and the municipalities Drogenbos , Wemmel , Kraainem and Linkebeek received language relief for the Francophones. Flemish protests in Brussels followed, and an amendment to the 1932 law was called for.
Home Secretary Arthur Gilson resumed the language problem in the early 1960s . Under pressure from the Flemings, an agreement was reached to establish a definitive language border and to abolish the language count. This was done through a law of July 24, 1961. The language border in its current form was finally established by a law of November 8, 1962 ("Gilson Laws"). A law of July 5, 1963 governed the use of languages in administrative matters and divided Belgium into four language areas, while two other laws of July 30 and August 9, 1963 respectively, regulated the use of languages in education and the judiciary and still regulate them today (see further down).
A report from 1958 by the Harmel Center, named after Pierre Harmel, served as the basis for the laws of 1962/63 . With the new laws, 43 municipalities switched to the language border. As the municipality of Comines-Warneton moved to the French-speaking area, the Flemings demanded in return that the municipality of Voeren should be separated from the province of Liège and incorporated into the province of Limburg (although the Harmel Center report did not provide for this). The area of Brussels with its 19 municipalities (today's Brussels-Capital Region ) was also definitely defined in this law. Except for the bilingual Brussels-Capital area, all municipalities in Belgium were definitely monolingual. Another innovation of the Gilson Law was the creation of a third monolingual area, namely the German-speaking area, which included the cantons of Eupen and Sankt Vith . The Malmedyer communities, on the other hand, came to the French-speaking area, but had to set up language facilities for the German-speaking minority. Although they were extremely unpopular with the Flemings, the language facilitation for Francophones was retained in certain communities. However, these so-called “(language) facilities” could no longer be set up at the request of citizens; an exhaustive list of municipalities with language facilities has been established. After the municipalities of Sint-Genesius-Rode and Wezembeek-Oppem received language relief, the Brussels peripheral municipalities now had six municipalities with facilities . The negotiations between Flemings and Walloons were extremely tense, so that in 1963 the government almost failed because of the language problem.
Effects on the current situation
Legislation 1962-63 is still applicable in Belgium today, in a slightly modified form. In 1995 the former bilingual province of Brabant was divided into two monolingual provinces of Flemish Brabant and Walloon Brabant in order to comply with the reality of the language border .
The definitive definition of the language border can above all be seen as a victory for the Flemish Movement; Less than ten years later, the language areas were used during the first major state reform (1970) to define the boundaries of the cultural communities. In the subsequent state reforms, which brought the communities and regions into being and gradually transformed Belgium into a federal state , the language border was no longer changed and served to determine the areas of responsibility of these new local authorities.
Flanders' self-confidence was also strengthened by identifying with a certain area. For example, at the beginning of the 1960s, after the university town of Leuven definitely belonged to Flanders, numerous Dutch- speaking students demonstrated in the streets of the city and urged the French-speaking students to leave Leuven with the striking slogan “Walen buiten!” (Walloons out!) . The division of the university in 1968 into the Dutch- speaking Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) and the French-speaking Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) as well as the last move to the Walloon city of Louvain-la-Neuve (New Leuven) were the result. A little later, in 1969, the split between the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) also took place in Brussels . In keeping with the spirit of the times, the large national parties in Belgium that had existed up to this point in time also diverged and now concentrated primarily on “their” side of the language border (split between the Catholic party in CPV and PSC and the liberal party in PVV and PLP in 1972 and that of the Socialist Party in SP and PS in 1978).
But the compromises at that time already bore the seeds of much more violent disputes between Flemings and Walloons, which were only fought later and are still being fought today:
- When Voeren was separated from Liège, there were already violent protests from the Walloon population in these communities. In the mayoral election in 1982, José Happart received a majority of the votes, but was not allowed to take office because he did not understand Dutch. This led to mass brawls between Flemings and Walloons and a government crisis.
- It was decided at the time to keep the Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde electoral and judicial district ("BHV"), which spanned both the bilingual Brussels-Capital and part of the Dutch-speaking area. For a long time, the division of “BHV” was a repeated demand from Flanders; In 2007 the Flemish political parties introduced a corresponding bill to the Chamber of Deputies . This led to a political crisis that made it impossible to form a government under Yves Leterme and required a transitional government under Guy Verhofstadt . It was not until September 2011 that eight parties, led by Elio Di Rupo, came to an agreement on the redistribution of the controversial constituency.
- The exact political scope of the language facilitation was not clearly defined at the time, so that today the Flemish and French-speaking parties face each other with two radically opposing views. In the eyes of the Flemings, these language facilitations were intended as temporary measures. The Francophones in the Flemish Facility Communities should gradually learn the Dutch language. After a certain time, the relief would be abolished and the municipalities would be fully incorporated into the Flemish language area. In contrast, the Francophones see the language relief as definitive (French droit acquis ) and do not want to accept any violation or weakening. The dispute about language facilitation is still being carried out in relation to the “Peeters circular” in the outskirts of Brussels (see below).
Principle: freedom of language
Article 30 of the Belgian Constitution says: “The use of the languages spoken in Belgium is free; it may only be regulated by law and only for acts of public authority and for judicial matters ”. This article is from the original 1831 constitution.
From this it can be concluded that in principle the use of language between private individuals in Belgium is not subject to any rules. It should be noted that we are talking about the "languages spoken in Belgium". The "three official national languages" are meant, i. H. Dutch , French and German (cf. Art. 4 of the Constitution). The European Convention on Human Rights , which is fully effective in Belgium, also provides in Articles 5, § 2 and 6, § 3, a. freedom of language (in criminal matters). Finally, Articles 10 and 11 of the Constitution prohibit all forms of discrimination , including language discrimination. Except for legal proceedings (see below) there is no special legal protection for the other languages and dialects spoken in Belgium.
In the same breath, Article 30 also provides for a limitation of this freedom for certain aspects of language use. These restrictions are exceptions to the principle and must therefore be interpreted restrictively .
Article 30 must also be read in conjunction with Article 129 of the Constitution. This last gives the Flemish and French Communities some of their own responsibilities in terms of language use, namely the use of languages for "administrative matters [...] [,] teaching in institutions created, subsidized or recognized by the public authorities [and for] the social relationships between employers and their staff, as well as the company's actions and documents required by law and regulations ”. According to Article 130, § 1, No. 5, the German-speaking Community only has its own competence in the field of education for the use of languages. These competencies represent a further restriction of the general freedom of speech. The competency of the communities themselves is limited on the one hand by the language border (Art. 4 of the Constitution) and the "principle of territoriality": the rules of the communities apply only on their territory. On the other hand, Article 129, § 2 excludes certain areas from the competence of the Communities and reserves them to the federal legislature.
Some of the Belgian language laws are presented below.
Use of language in legislative matters
The Act of May 31, 1961 on the Use of Languages in Legislative Matters, the Formation, Publication and Entry into Force of Statutory and Ordinance Texts lays down the use of language for regulatory texts at the federal level.
The starting point is the absolute equality of Dutch and French without priority of one language over the other in the adoption, sanction, execution and publication of federal laws in the Belgian State Gazette (Art. 1 and 7). If a draft law is deposited by the government in the Chamber of Deputies or in the Senate , this draft must also be written in both languages (Art. 2). When they are published in the Belgian State Gazette, the regulatory texts are displayed facing each other in both languages (Art. 4).
Although the German language is an official language of Belgium, it does not have the same status as the two other languages. German translations of the federal laws can also be published, but this happens at very irregular intervals. The texts are translated by the Central Office for German Translations in Malmedy. On April 21, 2007, a number of laws were passed (the "Collas Laws", named after the former German-speaking Senator Berni Collas ), which intend to translate it into German more quickly.
Communities and regions
The use of languages in the legislative legal texts of the communities and regions (so-called "decrees" or - when it comes to texts from the Brussels-Capital Region - "ordinances") is regulated in the special law of August 8, 1980 on institutional reform; December 1983 on institutional reforms for the German-speaking community and in the special law of 12 January 1989 on the Brussels institutions:
- The decrees of the Flemish Parliament are adopted in Dutch, but they are accompanied by a French translation when they are published.
- The decrees of the Parliament of the French Community are passed in French and published in the State Gazette with a Dutch translation.
- The decrees of the Parliament of the Walloon Region are passed in French, but are systematically provided with a German and a Dutch translation when they are published (Art. 55 of the Special Law of 8 August 1980).
- The decrees of the German-speaking Community are passed in German, but also translated into French and Dutch (Art. 47 of the law of December 31, 1983).
- The ordinances of the Brussels-Capital Region are - as for the federal state - adopted and published in French and Dutch (Art. 33 of the Special Law of January 12, 1989).
Use of languages in administrative matters
The coordinated legislation of July 18, 1966 on the use of languages in administrative matters stipulates the language in which the administration communicates with its citizens. Although the Flemish and French Communities are responsible for the use of languages in administrative matters on the basis of Article 129, § 1, No. 1 of the Constitution, there have been only a few “fillings” of the federal legislation mentioned in this matter. The use of language by the administration has always been an extremely sensitive matter in Belgium and still creates considerable tension between Flemings and Walloons today.
The use of languages in administrative matters differs depending on where you are in Belgium. There are different rules for the following areas:
- the homogeneous Dutch language area, d. H. excluding Brussels fringes or communities along the language border;
- the homogeneous French-speaking area, d. H. excluding communities along the language border or Malmedy communities;
- the German-speaking area (nos. 19-27 on the map), d. H. the area congruent with that of the German-speaking Community of Belgium;
- the bilingual Brussels-Capital area, d. H. the area coincident with that of the Brussels-Capital Region;
- the Brussels suburbs with language facilities, d. H. the territory of the municipalities drug bos (9), Linkebeek (10), Sint-Genesius-Rode (French: Rhode-Saint-Genèse) (11), Wemmel (12), Kraainem (French: Crainhem) (13) and Wezembeek-Oppem (14);
- the municipalities along the language border that have special language facilities, d. H. the municipalities of Mesen (French Messines) (2), Spiere-Helkijn , (French Espierres-Helchin) (4), Ronse (French Renaix) (5), Bever (French Biévène) (7), Herstappe (15 ), Voeren (French: Fourons) (16) (Flemish municipalities with facilities for the francophone population) and the municipalities of Comines-Warneton (n.d. Komen-Waasten) (1), Mouscron (n.d. Moeskroen) (3), Flobecq ( ndl. Vloesberg) (6), Enghien (ndl. Edingen) (8) (Walloon communities with facilities for the Dutch-speaking population);
- the so-called Malmedy communities, d. H. the area of the municipalities of Malmedy (17) and Waimes (dt. Weismes) (18) with language facilities for the German-speaking minority.
Within each language area, the law provides for different rules depending on the administrative level. The administration is divided into three levels, one local, one regional and one that extends to the whole country. The communities and regions are not dealt with in the 1966 coordinated legislation. The rules on the use of languages are dealt with in the special and simple laws relating to them.
The coordinated legislation defines local offices as "those offices whose field of activity does not extend to more than one municipality" (Art. 9). This includes the administration, the mayor and the public welfare center (ÖSHZ) of a municipality.
Legislation regulates the use of languages by local offices with other administrations (Art. 10) and with private individuals (including companies) (Art. 11 to 14). The language skills of civil servants are also regulated (Art. 15). For the bilingual area of Brussels-Capital and the suburbs of Brussels, very special rules are provided (Articles 17 to 31).
Deviations from these rules are theoretically possible for the municipalities of Baelen (including Membach ), Plombières (previously only for Gemmenich , Hombourg , Montzen , Moresnet and Sippenaeken ) and Welkenraedt (including Henri-Chapelle ) (especially to protect the German-speaking minority there ). These deviations must be provided for by a Royal Decree, which must be confirmed by law (Art. 16); however, this has never happened before.
Dutch and French language area
The use of languages towards private individuals in local offices in the homogeneous Dutch and French-speaking areas is in principle the same. It can be summarized as follows:
- Relationships with private individuals: Dutch or French , with the possibility of using another official language when answering a resident of another language area;
- Notices and notices intended for the public: Dutch or French , but in municipalities with tourist centers the municipal council may decide to draw up these notices and notices in at least three languages;
- Forms intended for the public: Dutch or French ;
- Documents relating to private individuals: Dutch or French , with the option of having a translation into one of the other national languages provided free of charge if the necessity can be proven;
- Certificates, declarations and authorizations for private individuals: Dutch or French , with the option of having a translation into one of the other national languages provided free of charge if the need can be proven.
Local offices located in the Dutch or French-speaking area use only the language of their area in their internal services, in their relationships with offices to which they report and in their relationships with other offices in the same language area and in Brussels-Capital. In addition, local services located in the Dutch-speaking area use the Dutch language in their relations with services located in the suburbs.
Regarding the language skills of civil servants, the law provides that no one may be appointed or promoted to an office or post if he does not speak the language of the area. Knowledge of the language is determined by the language of the diplomas required. However, it is also possible to prove your language skills in an external exam.
German language area
The use of languages towards private individuals in local offices in the German-speaking area can be summarized as follows:
- Relationships with private individuals: German or French , depending on the language in which the person addresses the administration;
- Announcements and announcements intended for the public: German and French with priority for German, but in municipalities with tourist centers the municipal council can decide to draw up these announcements and announcements in at least three languages;
- Announcements from the registry offices: German or, if applicable, in the language of the translation, if the person concerned wishes to have a translation provided free of charge into one of the other national languages and the necessity can be proven;
- Forms intended for the public: German and French ;
- Documents relating to private individuals: German , with the option of being provided with a French translation free of charge without any justification or justification;
- Certificates, declarations and permits for private individuals: German or French .
Local offices located in the German-speaking area exclusively use the language of their area in their internal services, in their relationships with offices to which they report and in their relationships with other offices in the same language area and in Brussels-Capital. They may, however, attach a translation to the documents they send to the services they report and to services in Brussels-Capital, if they deem it necessary.
Here, too, the following applies: As far as the language skills of civil servants are concerned, the legislation provides that no one may be appointed or promoted to an office or position if they do not speak German. Knowledge of the language is determined by the language of the diplomas required. However, it is also possible to prove your language skills in an external exam. It is also necessary that “the departments are organized in such a way that the public can use French or German without the slightest difficulty”.
Bilingual Brussels-Capital area
Language use towards private individuals in local offices in the bilingual Brussels-Capital area can be summarized as follows:
- Relations with private individuals: Dutch or French , depending on the language in which the person addresses the administration;
- Announcements and communications intended for the public: Dutch and French equally;
- Announcements by the registry offices: the language of the document to which the announcement relates;
- Forms intended for the public: Dutch and French equal;
- Documents relating to individuals: Dutch and French , depending on the wishes of the interested party;
- Certificates, declarations and permits for individuals: Dutch and French , depending on the wishes of the interested party.
Local services located in Brussels-Capital use the French or the French language in their internal services, in their relations with services to which they report and in their relations with other services in Brussels-Capital, without the use of translators, depending on the following distinctions Dutch language:
- A. If the matter is limited or limitable:
- exclusively to the French or Dutch language area: the language of this area,
- simultaneously on Brussels-Capital and on the French or Dutch language area: the language of this area,
- simultaneously to the French and Dutch language area: the language of the area in which the matter originates,
- simultaneously to the French and Dutch-speaking areas and to Brussels-Capital, if the matter originates in one of the first two areas: the language of that area,
- simultaneously to the French and Dutch-speaking areas and to Brussels-Capital, if the matter originates in the latter: the language prescribed under letter B) below,
- exclusively in Brussels-Capital: the language prescribed under letter B) below,
- B. If the matter is neither limited nor delimitable:
- if it relates to an employee of a service: the language in which he took his entrance examination or, in the absence of such an examination, the language of the group to which the person concerned belongs because of his main language,
- if it was introduced by a private person: the language that this person used,
- in all other cases: the language in which the staff member who is entrusted with the matter passed his admission test. If this employee has not passed an admission test, he will use his main language.
Local offices in Brussels-Capital use the language of that area in their relations with offices in the French or Dutch language area. Service instructions and other instructions addressed to staff and forms intended for back office staff are drawn up in French and Dutch.
The coordinated legislation provides for the language skills of civil servants as follows: Applicants for an office or a position in local offices located in Brussels-Capital must take an admission test in the "other language", in which a basic knowledge of the language must be demonstrated ( The starting language is that of the required diploma). It also states, however, that “no one may be appointed or promoted to a post or office in which the holder is in contact with the public, unless he orally proves that he is by means of an additional partial examination or a special examination has sufficient knowledge or basic knowledge corresponding to the office he is to hold ". There are deviations for the "skilled and worker personnel" (no language test) and for the "higher personnel" (stricter test). Ultimately, the coordinated legislation provides that, when recruiting the personnel, the administrations of the municipalities and public law persons, which are subordinate to the municipalities, must distribute at least fifty percent of the positions to be awarded equally between the two language groups.
Special case: Brussels outskirts
The use of languages towards private individuals in local offices on the outskirts of Brussels who have certain facilities can be summarized as follows:
- Relations with private individuals: Dutch or French , depending on the language in which the person addresses the administration;
- Relationships with private companies from municipalities that come from a homogeneous linguistic area: the language of the area in which the municipality of origin is located;
- Announcements and communications intended for the public: Dutch and French with Dutch priority;
- Announcements by the registry offices: the language of the document to which the announcement relates;
- forms intended for the public: Dutch and French ;
- Documents relating to private individuals:
- for Drugsbos , Kraainem , Linkebeek and Wemmel : Dutch or French , depending on the wishes of those interested;
- for Sint-Genesius-Rode and Wezembeek-Oppem : Dutch , with the option of being provided with a French translation free of charge without justification or justification;
- Certificates, declarations and authorizations for individuals: Dutch or French , depending on the wishes of the interested party.
Local services located in the suburbs of Brussels use only the Dutch language in their internal services, in their relations with services to which they report and in their relations with services in the Dutch-speaking area and Brussels-Capital.
No one may be appointed or promoted to an office in local offices in the outskirts if they do not have a command of the Dutch language. Applicants will only be admitted to the examination if the required diplomas show that they have been taught in the Dutch language. In the absence of such a diploma, knowledge of the language must be proven beforehand through an examination.
The use of language in the Brussels fringes, no matter how unproblematic it may seem, is one of the greatest trouble spots in the Flemish-Walloon conflict. Indeed, a 1997 circular from the former Flemish Minister Leo Peeters , known in Belgium as the “Peeters circular”, stipulates that if a French-speaking citizen in the suburbs wishes to receive information in French from the local government, he or she should do anything Time to submit a new explicit request. However, the general interpretation of the French-speaking side, in particular by the FDF (Front démocratique des francophones) party , is that a citizen only needs to request once that he wants to contact the local government in French and that this request is so long applies until the citizen withdraws it. In 2004, the Flemish Chamber of the Council of State confirmed the Flemish interpretation of the law in a series of four judgments, contrary to the opinion of the (Flemish) auditor, but these judgments are dismissed by most Francophones as partisan and purely political and therefore also regarded as unlawful . However, the case law was confirmed by the State Council in 2008.
A direct consequence of the different interpretations of the legislation was that three mayors of the FDF (from the municipalities of Kraainem, Wezembeek-Oppem and Linkebeek), according to the Francophone interpretation, sent the nominations addressed to Francophone voters in their municipalities directly in French were not appointed by the Flemish Minister of the Interior, Marino Keulen , because of the violation of the language legislation , even though they had obtained a majority in their municipality in the municipal council elections of 2006. According to the Flemish interpretation, these French-language electoral summons could in fact be sent out only after first sending a Dutch electoral summons to all citizens of the municipality and after, in a further step, an official request for a French-language electoral summons from the municipality. These three mayors were severely criticized by the Flemish side, while they enjoyed full support from the Francophone side. The matter thus acquired a symbolic value, both on the Flemish and Walloon sides, which makes it difficult to find a compromise solution. This dossier in particular also prevented the development of a new state reform after the federal elections of 2007 and led to the government- builder Yves Leterme having to withdraw and a transitional government being formed under Guy Verhofstadt . To this day, the three mayors have still not been appointed and since 2006 have had the title of "outgoing mayor".
Special case: linguistic border communities
The use of languages towards private persons in local offices in the communities along the language border that have language facilities can be summarized as follows:
- Relations with private individuals: Dutch or French , depending on the language in which the person addresses the administration;
- Announcements and announcements intended for the public: Dutch and French with priority for the language of the language area in which the municipality is located, but in municipalities with tourist centers the municipal council may decide to make these announcements and announcements in at least three languages;
- Announcements from the registry offices: the language of the document to which reference is made or, if applicable, in the language of the translation, if the person concerned wishes to have a translation into one of the other national languages handed over free of charge without justification or justification;
- Forms intended for the public: only the language of the language area in which the municipality is located;
- Documents relating to private individuals: the language of the language area in which the municipality is located, with the option of a free translation if the person concerned wishes to have one handed over to them without any justification or justification;
- Certificates for individuals: Dutch or French , depending on the wishes of the interested party.
- Permits and declarations for private individuals: The language of the language area in which the municipality is located, a free translation can be provided if the interested party can prove the necessity.
As far as the language skills of civil servants are concerned, the rules of the Dutch or French language area apply (see above). However, it differs fundamentally from the homogeneous language area in that:
- the offices of community secretary, community taker, police commissioner and secretary or taker of the public social welfare centers (ÖSHZ) are only available to applicants who have sufficient knowledge of the "second language";
- In municipal administrations and in administrations of persons under public law who are subordinate to the municipalities, no one is allowed to hold a position in which he comes into contact with the public if he does not have a basic knowledge of the second language.
For the remaining aspects of language use, the same rules apply that also apply to the language area concerned.
Special case: Malmedy parishes
The language use towards private persons in local offices in the so-called "Malmedy communities" (Malmedy and Weismes communities) can be summarized as follows:
- Relationships with private individuals: French or German , depending on the language in which the person addresses the administration;
- Notices and notices intended for the public: French or, if the municipal council so decides, French and German with priority over French, but in municipalities with tourist centers the council may decide to draw up these notices and notices in at least three languages;
- Announcements from the registry offices: the language of the document to which reference is made or, if applicable, in the language of the translation, if the person concerned wishes to have a translation into one of the other national languages handed over free of charge without justification or justification;
- Forms intended for the public: French or, if the municipal council so decides, French and German with priority over French;
- Documents relating to private individuals: French with the option of a free translation that cannot be justified or justified if the person concerned wishes to receive one;
- Certificates, declarations and permits for private individuals: French or German , depending on the wishes of the interested party.
The legislation does not address the language skills of civil servants. All that is required is that “the services are organized in such a way that the public can use French or German without the slightest difficulty”.
For the remaining aspects of language use, the same rules apply as for the French-speaking area.
Regional offices are those offices that cover more than one municipality but not the whole country (Art. 32 of the coordinated legislation of July 18, 1966). These include the provincial councils and colleges, the organs of the intercommunal etc.
Again, the language used by these departments depends on their geographic area of responsibility. The above-mentioned division into homogeneous Dutch or French language area, German language area, bilingual area Brussels-Capital, as well as the special cases of the Brussels fringe communities, the language border communities and the Malmedy communities also applies to regional offices.
The use of languages in regional offices and local offices is similar in many respects (see above). However, the following points can be highlighted:
- Regional offices whose headquarters are in Brussels, but whose area of responsibility extends only to a homogeneously monolingual area, only need to use this one language.
- Regional offices whose area of responsibility extends to language border communities or communities in the German-speaking area and whose headquarters are also located there are mutatis mutandis subject to the same rules.
- Regional services use Dutch in their relations with local services located in the suburbs of Brussels and under their control; The same applies to regional offices located in the Dutch-speaking area.
The last category of services mentioned in the coordinated legislation on the use of languages in administrative matters are “services whose field of activity extends to the whole country” (Art. 39 et seq. Of the coordinated legislation). These departments are subdivided into central departments on the one hand, including the Federal Public Services (FPS) (formerly 'ministries'), and executive departments, including the National Archives, the Royal Meteorological Institute and Brussels-Zaventem Airport . The latter are subject to less strict language requirements, particularly in relation to the internal services.
The use of languages towards private individuals in agencies at state level can be summarized as follows:
- Relationships with individuals: Dutch , French or German , depending on the language in which the person addresses the administration;
- Relationships with private companies in the homogeneous Dutch or French language area: only the language of the language area;
- Announcements and communications intended for the public: Dutch and French , possibly also German ;
- Forms intended for the public: Dutch and French , possibly also German ;
- Documents, certificates, declarations and permits for private individuals: Dutch , French or German , depending on the wishes of the interested party.
The use of languages is regulated in the same way as in the local offices of the Brussels-Capital Region (see above) in the internal services of the central services. In their relations with other services, these internal services use the language of the language area in which the other service is located.
The internal organization of the central office, which also regulates the language skills of civil servants, is done by means of so-called language cadre, which were redesigned in 2002 on the occasion of the so-called “Copernicus reform” of the federal public service. There are therefore two language groups: the Dutch and the French. In addition, all officials are sorted into a language role (Dutch or French), depending on the language in which the required diploma was obtained. This division into a language role is in principle irrevocable; Depending on the language role, the officers can only be included in a corresponding cadre. The principle is therefore the monolingualism of officials. There is no separate German language role. However, there are exceptions to this principle: for all senior positions, management or leadership positions there are three language cadres, namely one Dutch, one French and one bilingual. The percentages of the respective squads are set at regular intervals by royal decree.
Community and Regional Services
The rules on the use of languages in the services of the communities and regions are not laid down in the coordinated legislation of 1966, but for Flanders, the Walloon Region and the French Community in the ordinary law of 9 August 1980 on institutional reform (art. 35-44). The rules for the German-speaking community can be found in the law of December 31, 1983 on institutional reforms for the German-speaking community (Art. 68-71) and the rules for the Brussels-Capital Region in the law of June 16, 1989 on certain institutional reforms (Articles 32–37).
In their respective homogeneous areas of competence, the services of the Flemish Region or Community (Flanders for short) use the Dutch language and the services of the Walloon Region and the French Community use the French language.
In the areas with a special status (language border municipalities, Brussels peripheral municipalities, Malmedyer municipalities, but also possibly bilingual Brussels-Capital or German-speaking area), they apply the rules of the coordinated legislation of 1966 (see above). The Walloon Region has to use the German language with services located in the German-speaking area.
There are also special provisions for the offices of the above-mentioned regional authorities, which only cover part of the entire area of responsibility.
The offices of the German-speaking Community are subject to the same rules as the local offices of the German-speaking area (see above), only notices and forms are first published in German. A French translation can be provided on request.
The administrative languages in the Brussels-Capital Region and for the Joint Community Commission are Dutch and French. Thus, the provisions of the coordinated legislation of 1966 concerning the local services in the bilingual Brussels-Capital area are also applicable to the services in the Brussels-Capital Region.
The penalties for non-compliance with the language legislation are set out in Articles 57 to 59 of the coordinated legislation of July 18, 1966 on the use of languages in administrative matters.
- Officials who break the law will be subject to disciplinary sanctions. For subordinate authorities (especially municipalities), the supervisory authority (regional government or provincial governor) can issue this penalty itself in the absence of disciplinary sanctions.
- Administrative acts and ordinances that violate the provisions of language legislation in terms of form or content are void . In the event of formal errors, the file or ordinance must be replaced by the same authority in accordance with the regulations. In the event of errors in content, the limitation period for disputes or administrative proceedings is interrupted. The general limitation period for violations of language legislation is five years.
The rules on the language skills of civil servants are precisely set out in the coordinated legislation on the use of languages in administrative matters. But the question of the linguistic competence of the elected mandataries and representatives, especially at community level, was the trigger for violent disputes in the Flemish-Walloon conflict. In the 1980s in particular, a great polemic arose about the mayor of Voeren (French: Fourons ), José Happart , who, although his community was in the Dutch-speaking area, spoke almost no Dutch and refused to learn the language. With his party “Retour à Liège” ( Back to Liège ) he was indeed of the opinion that the 1963 transfer of the municipality of Voeren from the French-speaking province of Liège to the Dutch- speaking province of Limburg should be reversed. The Dutch-speaking chamber of the Council of State had thus declared Happart's appointment null and void. The ensuing dispute, which was not infrequently carried out violently, was even to result in the failure of the Belgian government under Wilfried Martens .
The crisis in Voeren was resolved after the new elections in 1987 when the municipal election law of August 4, 1932 was amended by a law of August 9, 1988. Since then, today's Article 68 bis has provided that every member of the municipal council, every lay judge and every mayor of the municipalities with a special statute must know the language of the language area. This knowledge is assumed. An irrefutable presumption of language skills only applies to directly elected mandataries (i.e. community council members) through their election. For lay judges and mayors, however, this presumption can be refuted at the request of a council member if the member can produce serious evidence. In this case, the matter will be referred to the State Council, which will review the matter. If it turns out that the language of the language area is actually not mastered, the appointment of the mayor will be declared null and void.
Use of languages in the judiciary
The use of languages in the ordinary courts is regulated by a law of June 15, 1935. There are also special rules for the use of languages before the Council of State or the Constitutional Court , which are laid down in the respective basic laws, i.e. H. in the coordinated legislation on the Council of State of January 12, 1973 and in the special law of January 6, 1989 on the Court of Arbitration.
Within the ordinary courts (or the " judiciary "), the language regulation depends on the one hand on the legal area (civil, commercial and labor law on the one hand, criminal law on the other) and on the hierarchy of the courts (court of first instance, court of appeal, court of cassation ) .
Civil, commercial and labor courts
The principle for civil, commercial and labor courts in the first instance (including the justice of the peace ) is monolingualism in the monolingual judicial districts which are not congruent with the administrative districts (see above). In simple terms, it can be said that the courts of first instance in the Dutch-speaking area are Dutch-speaking, those in the French-speaking area are French-speaking, and those in the German-speaking area are German-speaking (Articles 1, 2 and 2 bis ).
The language used by these courts in the judicial district of Brussels is subject to different rules. This judicial district extends over the bilingual area of Brussels-Capital and the administrative district of Halle-Vilvoorde, making it the only bilingual judicial district in the country. Thus, the entire language regulation is a little more complicated in this district (Art. 3, 4, 5 and 7 bis ):
- The legal act initiating proceedings must be drawn up in Dutch or French if the defendant lives in the Dutch or French-speaking area; if the defendant lives in the bilingual Brussels-Capital area, the plaintiff has the choice between Dutch and French.
- Before the actual trial begins (" in limine litis ") , the defendant can request that the trial be conducted in the other language. The judge must immediately rule on this request.
- If the defendant lives in one of the Brussels fringes with language facilities (i.e. in the municipalities of Kraainem , Drogenbos , Linkebeek , Sint-Genesius-Rode , Wemmel or Wezembeek-Oppem ), he can also request that the process be conducted in the other language:
- If the defendant lives in another municipality in the Flemish part of the judicial district of Brussels, the following applies:
- The courts of justice and - in court cases in connection with the civil consequences of car accidents, the value of which does not exceed 1860 euros - the police courts use the Dutch language. The same rule applies to the Courts of First Instance, Commercial Courts and Labor Courts when these courts have been seized on the basis of territorial jurisdiction in these Flemish municipalities.
- If the matter is related to the consequences of a car accident under civil law, but which exceeds the value of 1860 euros, the process can be applied for in the other language before the police courts of Halle and Vilvoorde. In this case, these courts refer the matter to the Brussels Police Court.
In addition to the division of the constituency of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde (BHV), the division of the judicial district of Brussels, which in fact extends over the same area as BHV, in order to adapt it to the reality of the language border, is one of the great demands of Flanders. The Francophones, however, fear that the rights of the French-speaking minority in the Halle-Vilvoorde administrative district could be restricted as a result. As for the constituency of BHV, no solution has yet been found for the judicial district of Brussels.
However, the parties can also decide by mutual agreement that the process should be conducted in another national language. In the event of such a request, the case will be referred to the nearest court in the language area concerned, unless the request concerns the use of French in a German-speaking court in the Eupen district. In this case, the Eupen District Courts will conduct the trial in French (Art. 7).
The parties are free to use the language during the process itself. If the judge does not understand the parties who appeared in person, he must request a simultaneous translator (Art. 30).
The use of language in criminal courts is organized differently. Belgium is bound by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to respect the rights of the accused in criminal proceedings, such as:
- the right to be informed within the shortest possible time in a language he understands in all details about the type and reason of the accusation against them (Art. 6 Para. 3 lit. a of the ECHR);
- the right to have an interpreter if he does not understand or speak the language used by the court (Art. 6 (3) (e) of the ECHR).
- In addition, every person arrested must be informed immediately in a language they understand of the reasons for their arrest and the charges against them. (Art. 5 para. 2 of the ECHR)
This guarantee is also stated in the law of June 15, 1935. This states that in all interrogations during an investigation or an investigation, before the examining magistrate and before the courts and tribunals, the party who appears in person is free to use the language freely. Whether this is an official language (see above) or not has no effect. If necessary, the services of a simultaneous translator will be used (Art. 31). The same applies to witnesses (Art. 32).
The use of languages in proceedings before the police and criminal courts is organized as follows: Depending on where the court is located (Dutch, French or German-speaking area), Dutch, French or German is used (Art. 14). There are certain exceptions only for the municipalities of Voeren and Comines-Warneton .
For the judicial district of Brussels there are again special rules (Art. 15 and 16):
- In the criminal courts at the Court of First Instance - just like in civil, commercial or labor courts - the place of residence of the defendant is decisive: the proceedings must be initiated in Dutch or French if the defendant lives in the Dutch or French-speaking area; if he lives in the bilingual area of Brussels-Capital, preference is given to the language in which the defendant formulated his statements during the investigation or investigation, or - in all other cases - French or Dutch "whichever is necessary". The defendant can submit a request to have the language of the proceedings changed.
- The following applies before the police courts:
- The police court in Brussels is subject to the same rules on the use of languages as the criminal court.
- The police courts, whose territorial competence extends only to Flemish municipalities, use the Dutch language.
- If the defendant lives in one of the Brussels fringes with language facilities (i.e. in the municipalities of Kraainem, Drogenbos, Linkebeek, Sint-Genesius-Rode, Wemmel or Wezembeek-Oppem), he can request that the trial be conducted in the other language.
The Assisenhöfe ( jury courts ) are provided for each province and are therefore subject to the following language rules (Art. 19):
- In the provinces of Hainaut , Luxembourg , Namur and Walloon Brabant , the procedure takes place in French.
- In the provinces of Antwerp , East Flanders , West Flanders , Flemish Brabant and Limburg , the language of the proceedings is Dutch.
- In the province of Liège , French or German is used depending on the language in which the defendant expressed himself during the investigation.
- In the Brussels-Capital District , French or Dutch are used, depending on the language in which the defendant expressed himself during the investigation.
However, if the accused expresses himself better in a different national language than that which is spoken in the province, he can request that the assize trial be held in his language in another province (Art. 20).
In times of war the accused can decide for himself in which language (Dutch, French or German) the proceedings before the military tribunal will be conducted (Art. 18).
If a defendant does not speak the language of the proceedings, he can request free translations of the minutes, testimony or expert reports (Art. 22). The police and criminal courts also have a certain degree of flexibility if the accused has poor command of the language of the proceedings (Art. 23).
Courts of Appeal and Court of Cassation
The language used before the courts of appeal and before the court of cassation is mainly determined by the language of the judgment, which is available for appeal or cassation .
- Courts of Appeal
The language before all courts of appeal , and especially before the five courts of appeal ( Brussels , Antwerp , Ghent , Liège and Mons ), is the language in which the judgment on the appeal was drawn up (Art. 24).
However, if the courts of appeal in criminal matters are the first and last instance (ie especially if a judge is charged according to Art. 479 ff. Of the Criminal Procedure Code), then the proceedings will be conducted in the language that corresponds to the language area in which the judge is speaking Functions or in which he has his official residence (Art. 25, Para. 1). If that language area is the Brussels judicial district, the Brussels Court of Appeal uses Dutch or French, depending on the language in which the judge gave his statements during the investigation. The same applies mutatis mutandis to the judicial districts of Verviers and Eupen in connection with the French and German languages (Art. 25, Paragraphs 2 and 3).
The same applies to appeals against arbitral decisions (Art. 26).
- Court of Cassation
If the judgment presented to the Court of Cassation was pronounced in French or Dutch, the corresponding language will also be used before the Court of Cassation (Art. 27). A special procedure is provided for German-language judgments (Art. 27 bis ).
All judgments of the Court of Cassation are pronounced with a translation in the other language; if a German-language judgment was concerned, a German translation will also be published (Art. 28).
The use of languages before the Council of State as the highest administrative jurisdiction is regulated in Title VI of the Coordinated Legislation on the Council of State of January 12, 1973. The coordinated laws differentiate within the State Council between the “Legislation” department, which is an advisory body for all parliaments and governments in the country, and the “Administrative Disputes” department, which is the actual supreme administrative court.
In the Legislative Department, the principle is that the language used is the one in which the examined text (such as a preliminary draft law) was drawn up (Art. 47). If the text has been drawn up in Dutch and French, as is customary in the preliminary drafts of the Federal State and the Brussels-Capital Region, the Council of State will review both versions and highlight any incompatibilities between the two texts (Art. 48). If a text is submitted in German (because it comes from the German-speaking Community), it will be assessed by either a French or a Dutch chamber and the report will be translated (Art. 50 bis ).
In the administrative litigation department, the use of languages is a little more complicated. If the Council of State is to rule on the legality of an administrative document, it will do so in the language in which this document was drawn up, unless it has just been criticized that the legislation on the use of languages in administrative matters (see above) has not been complied with; in this case the matter will be dealt with in a bilingual chamber (Art. 52).
The use of language before the Council of State for complaints against administrative acts with individual decisions (such as a promotion or a disciplinary penalty ) is largely determined by the plaintiff's statute:
- If the plaintiff is a civil servant , in accordance with the coordinated legislation of July 18, 1966, the following indications must be ascertained in order to determine the use of languages (in this order): 1. the homogeneously monolingual area in which the civil servant carries out his activities; 2. the “language role” (see above) to which he belongs; 3. the language in which he took his entrance examination; 4. the language of the diploma that he had to produce for the position; 5. the language in which the dispute was initiated (Art. 54).
- If the plaintiff is a judge , the proceedings will be conducted in the language of the language statute of the magistrate as defined in the law of June 15, 1935 on the use of languages in the judiciary (Art. 55).
- If the plaintiff is part of the Belgian armed forces , his language affiliation, determined in accordance with the law of 30 July 1938 (see below), determines the language in which the proceedings before the Council of State take place (Articles 56 to 59).
In certain cases, such as when the parties are subject to different language regimes, a bilingual chamber (Dutch / French) is entrusted with the matter. In this case, the judgment of the Council of State is also made in two languages (Art. 61 and 62).
But there are also certain language-related rules for the parties themselves. If they are themselves subject to the legislation on the use of languages in administrative matters, they may only use the language provided for by this law. All motions and pleadings sent to the Council of State in the wrong language are null and void (Art. 65). Persons who are not subject to this legislation may present files and statements drawn up in the language they have chosen (Art. 66).
The Constitutional Court, as the “guardian of the Belgian constitution ”, is also subject to its own language regime, which is set out in Title IV of the Special Law of 6 January 1989 on the Court of Arbitration.
Similar to the Council of State, the applicant's capacity determines whether the proceedings are conducted in Dutch, French or German (Art. 62):
- The federal government (“the Council of Ministers”) uses Dutch or French in accordance with the provisions of the coordinated legislation of July 18, 1966 on the use of languages in administrative matters (see above).
- The Presidents of the Federal Parliament use Dutch and French.
- The governments of the French Community, the German-speaking Community, the Walloon Region, the Brussels-Capital Region and the Flemish Government use their administrative language (Dutch, German or French).
- The same applies to the presidents of the parliaments of these communities and regions, with the exception of the presidents of the parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region and the “ Joint Community Commission ”, who use French and Dutch.
- The courts use the language or languages in which they must write their decision (see above).
- The persons (private or public, natural or legal) who demonstrate an interest use the language of their choice, except when they are subject to the legal provisions on the use of languages in administrative matters.
If these rules are not adhered to, the Constitutional Court will officially declare that the pleadings and declarations are null and void (Art. 62, Para. 3).
The investigation of the matter itself is conducted in the language of the written submission (Art. 63). If the case is brought in German (which is very rare) or in French and Dutch at the same time, the Constitutional Court decides whether the investigation will be conducted in French or in Dutch. The oral explanations in the meetings are given in German, French or Dutch with simultaneous translation (Art. 64).
However, the Constitutional Court differs fundamentally from all other Belgian courts in that it has to systematically publish all its judgments issued in response to an action for annulment in Dutch, French and German (Art. 65). The same applies to proceedings that were conducted in German. In the other cases (for example answers to prejudicial questions) the judgments are published in Dutch and French.
Language use in the Belgian armed forces
The use of languages in the Belgian armed forces is regulated by a law of 30 July 1938. The passage of this legislation in particular was one of the main engines of the Flemish Movement during the First World War (1914–1918). At this time, during the Battle of Flanders on the Yser, the so-called "Front Movement" arose , which fought against the language policy of the Belgian army. The simple soldier corps of the army is said to have consisted of around 80% Flemings at the time, with the vast majority of the officers coming from the French-speaking bourgeoisie . This is said to have even had the consequence that the Flemish soldiers in the trenches did not understand the orders of the French-speaking officers and that the resulting misunderstandings in some cases even led directly to the death of Flemish soldiers. However, the truth of these theses is extremely controversial today. After the front movement was banned in 1917, it became radicalized; in 1919 the right-wing radical “Frontpartij” emerged from it .
The law of July 30, 1938, repealing the previous language laws of the army, solved the language problem within the Belgian armed forces by dividing the army into Dutch-speaking, French-speaking and bilingual units. Specifically, the law provides: “The soldiers are fully trained in their mother tongue” (Art. 19, Paragraph 1). In order to determine the mother tongue, the community in which the soldier lives is assumed, but he can always prove that his mother tongue is another. German-speaking soldiers were also given the opportunity to form their own unit. “Administrative companies” are bilingual, but divided into monolingual sections (Art. 19, Paragraph 5).
In addition to their native Dutch or French, officers must also have “an effective knowledge of the other language”. A language test is provided for officer candidates (Art. 1), for appointment as lieutenant (Art. 3) and for appointment as major (Art. 5). A special regulation is provided for the German language (Art. 2 bis ). The language requirements for non-commissioned officers are less strict (Art. 8).
As far as the language itself is concerned, “in every monolingual unit for training, commands at all levels, administration, leadership and all other official contacts between command and officers, graduates or soldiers, between officers, between officers and graduates, between graduates and between Officers or graduates and soldiers use the language of this unit ”(Art. 22). Special regulations are provided for bilingual units, for the use of languages in military hospitals and other services (depots, arsenals, etc.) and for contacts with the Ministry of Defense. Announcements and communications directed by the authorities to the public are drawn up in accordance with the coordinated legislation on the use of languages in administrative matters (see above).
The only purely German-speaking infantry battalion has since been disbanded.
Use of languages in education
The use of languages in primary and secondary schools in Belgium is regulated, with the exception of the German-speaking community, by the law of 30 July 1963 on the use of languages in education. In the German-speaking Community, the law was replaced by the decree of April 19, 2004 on the teaching and use of languages in education; This was done in application of Article 129, § 1, No. 2 (or Art. 130, § 1, No. 5 for the DG) of the constitution, to which the Communities this competence.
Legislation on the use of languages in education only applies to schools that are part of the community education system (state education system) or are subsidized or recognized by the communities. Other free schools such as unrecognized private schools are not subject to the law. The pupils or their parents as private persons are also not affected, since according to Article 30 of the Constitution, the use of languages by persons is free. Belgian colleges and universities are not subject to the 1963 law. The use of languages there is freely organized by the communities.
Language use in schools, like all other aspects of language legislation in Belgium, is an extremely sensitive issue in the Flemish-Walloon conflict (see below). For example, the mayor of the Dutch- speaking municipality of Merchtem caused a sensation when he wanted to ban schoolchildren from using the French language in the schoolyard.
Dutch, French and German language areas
In the homogeneous Dutch and French language area, lessons are given in Dutch and French respectively. Exceptions to this are permitted, e.g. B. for learning foreign languages.
In the German-speaking area, the language of instruction is in principle German. Due to the language facilitation for Francophone and the already existing French-speaking schools in the German-speaking area, the German-speaking community, which is entrusted with the teaching system, has for a long time been under the “supervision” of the federal state for the use of languages in teaching. A constitutional amendment of May 20, 1997 finally granted the German-speaking community the autonomy for the use of languages in education . Since then, the decree of April 19, 2004 has provided that the municipalities of the German-speaking area are obliged to set up a French or Dutch-speaking section in the existing schools if the legal guardians of at least 15 kindergarten pupils or 30 primary school pupils declare that they are French or Dutch is their mother tongue (Art. 3).
Bilingual Brussels-Capital area
The fact that both the Flemish and the French Communities have authority in the bilingual Brussels-Capital area meant that special rules had to be drawn up for the use of languages in education.
In the bilingual Brussels-Capital area, too, education is either in Dutch or in French. There are no officially bilingual schools. Depending on the language used, the Brussels Schools fall under the jurisdiction of the Flemish or the French Community for other aspects of education (Art. 127, § 2 of the Constitution).
Whether a student goes to a Dutch or a French language school is decided by the “head of the family” if he lives in the bilingual district of Brussels-Capital (Art. 5 of the law of 30 July 1963). If the student does not live in Brussels, he must automatically follow the lessons in the language of his language area, even if he enrolls in a school in Brussels (e.g. a Francophone student from the Brussels fringes in the Dutch-speaking area would have to go to a Dutch-speaking Brussels school ). However, the head of the family can sign a declaration stating that the pupil should be taught in the other language (Art. 17, para. 5 and Royal Decree of November 30, 1966).
In the bilingual area of Brussels-Capital, the second language must be taught (Art. 10).
Municipalities with language facilities
In the communities with language facilitation (these are also called "language border communities" in the sense of the legislation on the use of languages in administrative matters), in the Brussels fringe communities and the Malmedyer communities, but also in the Low German communities for which there may be potential language facilities (today Baelen , Plombières and Welkenraedt ), special rules are also applicable.
If required by a minimum number of legal guardians, these municipalities must ensure that the corresponding pupils are taught in a different language. However, this only applies to kindergartens and primary school classes. Secondary education must be in the language of the language area (Art. 6 of the law of July 30, 1963). In order to be able to attend lessons in a language other than that of the language area, you must (Art. 17, Paragraph 2 and Royal Decree of November 30, 1966):
- either a certificate from the head of a previous school of the student
- or the head of the family will fill out a statement stating the student's mother tongue and present it to the language inspector
- or an independent jury will determine the student's native language.
Learning a second national language is also compulsory in municipalities with language facilities (Art. 10).
Especially in the outskirts of Brussels , however, the use of languages in education is once again proving to be a source of conflict between Flemings and Walloons. Indeed, in these six municipalities there are numerous schools which teach only in French and which follow the curriculum of the French Community . Since the schools are located in the Dutch-speaking area, they receive grants from the Flemish Community without having to follow the curriculum of the latter or being subject to the Flemish school inspection. The reason for this is a compromise that was reached during the first state reform in the early 1970s. Article 5 of the law of July 21, 1971 regarding the competences and functioning of the cultural councils of the Dutch cultural community and the French cultural community (through Article 93 of the special law of August 8, 1980 reforming the institutions, still in force today), states that the The situation of foreign language schools in the fringe and facility communities will be halted on December 31, 1970 and that proposals for changes to this situation must first be submitted to the Cooperation Committee; it is a so-called "standstill clause". A current example of this extremely delicate situation - although the language use itself is not affected - is a Flemish decree proposal from 2007, which aims at a broad interpretation of the Flemish decree on the organization of elementary education and wants to subordinate the French-speaking schools in the peripheral communities to the Flemish rules. The reason for this was to say that if the Flemish Community pays subsidies, it can also determine the curriculum. However, the French-speaking part of the country saw this as an attempt to suppress the French language in the peripheral communities. Therefore, first on December 13, 2007 by the French Community, on June 17, 2008 by the French Community Commission of the Brussels-Capital Region (abbreviated as “COCOF”) and then on January 14, 2009 by the Walloon Region, the parliamentary procedure of the “Conflict of Interest ”(Article 134 of the Constitution and Article 32 of the Law of 9 August 1980), which allowed the Flemish project to be suspended for a certain period. After this deadline had expired on June 6, 2009, the Flemish Parliament adopted the proposed decree in October 2009. This approach was sharply criticized by the francophone parties, which filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court. After temporarily suspending the Flemish decree on July 29, 2010, the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of French speakers on October 28, 2010 and declared the Flemish decree partially null and void.
Use of languages in private companies
The use of languages in private companies in the industrial, commercial or financial sector is also subject to special legislation. The starting point is the coordinated legislation of July 18, 1966 on the use of languages in administrative matters. However, Article 129, Paragraph 1, No. 3 of the Constitution gives the Flemish and French Communities the power to use the languages for “[…] the social relations between employers and their staff, as well as the acts prescribed by law and regulations Company documents ”. Since then, the decree of the Dutch cultural community of 19 July 1973 (called the "September decree") and the decree of the French cultural community of 30 June 1982 (called the "August decree") have been in effect in the homogeneous Dutch and French-speaking areas.
The non-profit organizations (in Belgium “non-profit associations” (VoG); in Germany recognized as non-profit organizations “ associations ”) are not affected by these rules.
Dutch language area
In companies that are based in the homogeneous Dutch-speaking area, employers and employees must only use the Dutch language in their relationships. The certificates, papers and documents handed out by the companies must also be drawn up in Dutch. However, if the composition of the workforce justifies it and if the employee representatives unanimously decide, translations in other languages may be included (Art. 5 of the decree of 19 July 1973).
In the event of non-compliance, the documents are legally null and void. Administrative sanctions and even criminal sanctions are provided.
A Flemish decree of June 1, 1994, which was supposed to amend the September decree, was partially annulled by the Constitutional Court (then called the “Arbitration Court”). The decree stipulated that all job offers had to be advertised in Dutch. Since the offers are unilateral at this point in time, there is no employment relationship yet and freedom of language according to Article 30 of the Constitution remains. The Flemish Community had thus exceeded its competences.
French language area
For companies located in the homogeneous French-speaking area, similar rules apply: The language for relations between employer and employee and the language for certificates, papers and records is French (Art. 2 of the decree of 30 June 1982). However, the parties can also agree on other languages.
In the event of non-compliance, the documents are legally null and void. However, there are no other sanctions.
Other language areas
The German-speaking area, the bilingual area of Brussels-Capital and the area of the communes with language facilities have no specific rules regarding the use of languages in relations between employer and employee (Art. 129, § 2 of the Constitution). The coordinated legislation of July 18, 1966 remains applicable to the use of languages when handing out certificates, papers and documents.
Thus, the following applies to certificates, papers and records (Art. 52 of the coordinated legislation of July 18, 1966):
- German is used in the German-speaking area;
- in the bilingual Brussels-Capital area, the documents intended for French-speaking staff are drawn up in French and those intended for Dutch-speaking staff in Dutch;
- in the municipalities with language facilities, the language of the language area is used, d. H. for example, in the outskirts of Brussels, Dutch and in the Malmedy communities, French.
But even here these companies can add a translation into one or more languages to the notices, notices, documents, certificates and forms intended for their staff, if this is justified by the composition of the staff.
In the present cases there are no real sanctions for violations. The defective document only needs to be replaced (see above).
- A. Alen, R. De Groof, H. Dumont, P. Vandernoot, E. Witte: De Brusselse negentien gemeenten en het Brussels model - Les dix-neuf communes bruxelloises et le modèle bruxellois. Larcier, Brussel-Bruxelles 2003, ISBN 978-2-8044-1216-6 .
- D. Blampain, J.-M. Klinkenberg, M. Wilmet, A. Goosse (dir.): Le Français en Belgique. Une langue, une communauté. Duculot, Bruxelles 1996, ISBN 978-2-8011-1126-0 .
- R. De Schrijver, B. De Wever, G. Durnez, L. Gevers, P. van Hees, M. De Metsenaere (red.): Nieuwe Encyclopedie van de Vlaamse Bewegungsing , 3 vol. And CD-ROM. Lannoo, Tielt 1998, ISBN 978-90-209-3042-9 .
- J. Koll (Ed.): National movements in Belgium. A historical overview. Netherlands Studies, Vol. 37, Waxmann, Münster 2005, ISBN 978-3-8309-1465-5 .
- E. Witte, E. Gubin, J.-P. Nandrin, G. Deneckere: Nouvelle histoire de Belgique, Volume 1 1830-1905. Complexe, Bruxelles 2005, ISBN 978-2-8048-0066-6 .
- P. Berckx: De toepassing van de taalregeling in de faciliteitengemeenten. TBP, 1998, blz. 332 en v.
- F. Delpérée : Les politiques linguistiques de la Belgique. Rev. gén. dr., 1988, pp. 255 f.
- F. Delpérée: El uso de las linguas en la justicia en Bélgica. In: La administración de la justicia en los Estados plurilingües. Generalidad de Cataluna, Barcelona 1997, p. 11 f.
- T. De Pelsmaker, L. Deridder, F. Judo, J. Proot, F. Vandendriessche: Administratieve Law Library: 15. Taalgebruik in bestuurszaken. Die Keure, Brugge 2004.
- L. Domenichelli: Constitution et régime linguistique en Belgique et au Canada , Bruylant, Bruxelles 1999.
- F. Gosselin: L'emploi des langues en matière administrative: les lois coordonnées du 18 juillet 1966. Kluwer, Deurne 2003.
- C. Horevoets: L'emploi des langues en matière sociale: unproblemème ancien, une solution classique. Note sous CA, n ° 72/95, 9 November 1995, RBDC , 1996, p. 186 f.
- L. Lindemans: Taalgebruik in justszaken. Story-Scientia, Gent 1973.
- P. Maroy: Des lois et des décrets sur l'emploi des langues dans les entreprises. JT, 1978, p. 269 f.
- R. Renard: Talen in bestuurszaken, in de bedrijven en in de sociale betrekkingen. Story-Scientia, Gent 1983.
- P. Vandernoot: La législation linguistique applicable à Bruxelles. In: Het statuut van Brussel - Le statut de Bruxelles. De Boeck & Larcier, Bruxelles 1999.
- R. Vandezande: Het taalgebruik in het onderwijs. In: L. Lindemans et al .: De taalwetgeving in België. Davidsfonds, Leuven 1981, blz. 178 en v.
- H. van Goethem, J. Velaers: Erasmus in Brussel. Taalperikelen in het universitair onderwijs. TORB, 1990-91, blz. 23 en v.
- J. Velaers: Deel 12. Het gebruik van de talen. In: G. van Hagendoren, B. Seutin (eds.): De Bevoegdheidsverdeling in het federale België. Die Keure, Brugge 2001.
- Coordinated Constitution of Belgium - Website of the Belgian Senate (German)
- Taalwetwijzer.be - Website of the Ministry of the Flemish Community (Dutch)
- As goede buren. Vlaanderen en de taalwetgeving on the website of the Documentatiecentrum Vlaamse Rand (pdf, Dutch)
- Online version of the Nieuwe Encyclopedie van de Vlaamse Bewegungsing (NEVB) - private website (Dutch)
- ^ A b c FU Berlin, Dutch Philology: Structure and History of Dutch. Dutch in Flanders: until 1914 (June 20, 2009).
- ↑ Lesoir.be: Saga Belgica (1/30): Un pays sort de l'œuf (et la question linguistique avec lui) (May 24, 2008) (French).
- ↑ D. Blampain, A. Goosse, J.-M. Klinkenberg et M. Wilmet (dir.): Le Français en Belgique. Une langue, un communauté. Duculot, Bruxelles 1996, p. 434.
- ↑ a b c d e B. Duquène: The francophone minority in the Flemish city of Ghent. A Sociolinguistic Study. ( Page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF) (Diploma thesis), Vienna brochures on Dutch and Flemish culture, 15, 2002.
- ^ C. Hecking: The Belgian political system. Leske and Budrich, Opladen 2003, p. 27.
- ↑ a b c d e f Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap: Als goede buren - Vlaanderen en de taalwetgeving ( Memento of the original of November 20, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (1999) (ndl.).
- ↑ For an overview of the Flemish Movement, see: Lode Wils: The Flemish National Movement . In: Herbert Van Uffelen, Christine van Baalen (Eds.): Flandern. Six posts. ( Page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF) Vienna brochures on Dutch and Flemish culture, 10, 2001.
- ↑ For a different view of things, see Lesoir.be: Saga Belgica (4/30): Coucke et Goethals, condamnés parce qu'ils étaient… coupables (May 28, 2008) (French).
- ^ P. De Decker: You pétitionnement en faveur de la langue flamande. Imprimerie de la Société des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles 1840; Can be viewed license-free under Google Books (PDF)
- ↑ Lesoir.be: Saga Belgica (2/30): La Flandre râle (gentiment) (May 26, 2008) (French).
- ↑ a b c d e f R. De Schrijver, B. De Wever, G. Durnez et al .: Nieuwe Encyclopedie van de Vlaamse Bewegungsing. sv “Taalwetgeving”, Tielt, Lannoo, 1998; an electronic version of the NEVB is available on a private website .
- ↑ Lesoir.be: Saga Belgica (7/30): Français = néerlandais (May 31, 2008, French).
- ^ Institut Jules Destrée : Loi Coremans-De Vriendt (July 19, 2007) (French); Lesoir.be: Saga Belgica (6/30): Le mouvement wallon est né (… à Bruxelles, dites donc) (May 30, 2008, French)
- ↑ Lesoir.be: Saga Belgica (10/30): Une universiteit à Gand (June 4, 2008, French).
- ^ Parliament of the German-speaking Community: On the history of the German-speaking community ( Memento of February 6, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (accessed on February 22, 2010).
- ↑ See J.-M. Triffaux: La minorité germanophone de la province de Luxembourg aux 19e et 20e siècle. ULB, Bruxelles 1985.
- ↑ a b Lesoir.be: Saga Belgica (11/30): Une frontière is born (e) (June 5, 2008) (French).
- ↑ Tache d'huile, marée flamande . Lesoir.be, Saga Belgica (17/30) June 12, 2008 (French).
- ↑ The decision to set up a separate German-speaking area had the direct consequence that in 1971 the German-speaking minority formed the future German-speaking community as a member state with equal rights in the Belgian political system ; see "The institutional development [of the German-speaking community]" on the website of the Ministry of the German-speaking community.
- ↑ a b Lesoir.be: Saga Belgica (18/30): Le pays se coupe en quatre pour rester uni (June 13, 2008) (French).
- ^ Institut Jules Destrée: La Wallonie, une région en Europe. Fourons, Comines et les “facilités linguistiques” (A. Wynants, 1995) (January 13, 2007) (French).
- ↑ Lalibre.be: Une journée historique minute by minute (November 7, 2007) (French).
- ↑ Historic agreement at the negotiating table: BHV is split , BRF online , September 15, 2011.
- ↑ A coordinated version of the Belgian constitution is available in German on the website of the Belgian Senate.
- ^ F. Delpérée : Le droit constitutionnel de la Belgique. Bruxelles, Bruylant, Paris, LGDJ, 2000, pp. 246-247; J. Velaers: Deel 12. Het gebruik van de talen. In: De Bevoegdheidsverdeling in het federale België. Die Keure, Brugge, blz. 51.
- ↑ Other minority languages are, for example, Italian, Arabic, Turkish, Spanish, Hebrew, ...
- ↑ Article 129 carried out an implicit revision of the constitution; see A. Alen: Handboek van Belgisch Staatsrecht. , Deurne, Kluwer, 1995, blz. 655.
- ↑ Confirmed by the judgment of the Court of Arbitration of March 26, 1986, No. 17, esp. 3.B.7.c; available in Dutch (PDF) and French (PDF) on the website of the Constitutional Court
- ↑ An unofficial, coordinated version of this legislation is available in German on the website ( Memento of the original from October 18, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 17 kB) of the Central Office for German Translations of the Malmedy District Commissioner.
- ↑ The Belgian State Gazette can be consulted daily on the website of the FPS Justice.
- ↑ Law of April 21, 2007 regulating the publication in German of laws, royal decrees and ministerial decrees of federal origin and amending the law of May 31, 1961 on the use of languages in legislative matters, the design, publication and entry into force of legal and ordinance texts, the laws coordinated on July 18, 1966 on the use of languages in administrative matters and the law of December 31, 1983 on institutional reforms for the German-speaking community; published in German in the Belgian State Gazette on December 11, 2007.
- ↑ An unofficial, coordinated version of this legislation is available in German on the website ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 112 kB) of the Central Office for German Translations of the Malmedy District Commissioner.
- ↑ Official: Omzendbrief BA 97/22 of 16 December 1997 concerning the het taalgebruik in gemeentebesturen van het Nederlandse taalgebied ; available on the website of the Flemish Ministry of the Interior.
- ↑ Judgments of the Council of State of December 23, 2004, No. 138.860 to 138.863; on the website of the State Council is u. a. the first judgment No. 138.860 available in Dutch (PDF) and French (PDF).
- ^ Judgment of the Council of State of June 19, 2008, No. 184.353; available in Dutch (PDF; 54 kB) on the website of the Council of State .
- ↑ Lalibre.be: Keulen ne nommera pas trois bourgmestres francophones (November 14, 2007) (French).
- ↑ Lalibre.be: La riposte francophone (November 16, 2007) (French).
- ↑ a b Judgment of the Council of State of August 12, 1970, No. 14.241; published in the Belgian State Gazette on December 3, 1970.
- ^ Judgment of the Council of State of September 30, 1968, No. 26.943.
- ↑ Two peoples. Flemings against Walloons - the absurd language war in Central Europe rages on . In: Der Spiegel . No. 45 , 1987, pp. 190-194 ( online ).
- ↑ It should be noted that the German-speaking area forms its own judicial district "Eupen". This is not the case at the administrative level as it is part of the Verviers district.
- ↑ De Morgen.be: Splitsing Rechtselijk arrondissement BHV op tafel ( Memento of the original from October 28, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (October 25, 2008) (ndl.).
- ↑ Lalibre.be: Les justiciables francophones exposés (September 6, 2007) (French)
- ↑ An unofficial, coordinated version of this legislation is available in German on the website ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (DOC file; 172 kB) of the Central Office for German Translations of the Malmedy District Commissioner.
- ↑ An unofficial, coordinated version of this legislation is available in German on the website ( Memento of the original from October 18, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (DOC file; 90 kB) of the Central Office for German Translations of the Malmedy District Commissioner.
- ↑ For example, mentioned in C. Hecking: The Belgian political system. Leske and Budrich, Opladen 2003, pp. 36–37.
- ↑ In an article by Bert Bultinck and Jeroen Verelst, this claim is even counted among the "Five Flemish Myths"; see De Morgen Wetenschap, 5 Vlaamse mythen in hun blootje (July 11, 2008) (ndl.).
- ↑ Liberation.fr: A Merchtem, le français mis au banc de l'école (September 8, 2006) (French).
- ↑ For a critical look at the teaching system in Brussels, see the study by the think tank Brussels Studies (2009) in Dutch (PDF), French (PDF) or English (PDF).
- ↑ See e.g. B. the division of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) by a law of May 28, 1970.
- ↑ Voorstel van decreet van de heren Kris Van Dijck en Robert Voorhamme, mevrouw Kathleen Helsen en de heren Sven Gatz en Dirk De Cock houdende interpretatie van de artikelen 44, 44bis en 62, §1, 7 °, 9 ° en 10 °, van het decreet basisonderwijs van 25 februari 1997, Vl. Parl., Stukken , sess. 2006–2007, no. 1163/1; can be viewed on the website ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. of the Flemish Parliament.
- ↑ Ibidem , Belangenconflict, Verslag, Vl. Parl., Stukken , sess. 2006–2007, no. 1163/6, blz. 6th
- ↑ See the press release (PDF; 70 kB) from the Prime Minister of the French Community (undated).
- ↑ Proposition de motion relative à un conflit d'intérêts suscité par l'adoption par la commission de l'Enseignement du parlement flamand de la proposition de décret relatif à l'interprétation des articles 44, 44bis et 62, § 1er, 7 °, 9 ° and 10 ° du décret relatif à l'enseignement fondamental du 25 février 1997, CRI , Parl. Comm. fr., sess. 2007–2008, séance du 13 December 2007, n ° 10; available on the website of the Parliament of the French Community.
- ↑ Decreet of October 23, 2009 houdende interpretatie van de artikelen 44, 44bis en 62, par. 1, 7 °, 9 ° and 10 °, van het decreet basisonderwijs van 25 februari 1997; published in Dutch and French in the Belgian State Gazette on November 24, 2009.
- ↑ Lalibre.be, Inspection flamande: un vote unanime des partis francophones (January 27, 2010) (French).
- ^ Judgment of the Constitutional Court of July 29, 2010, No. 95/2010; available in German (PDF; 134 kB) language on the website of the Constitutional Court; See also Standaard.be: Inspectie-arrest is dubbel besluit (June 30, 2010) (ndl.).
- ^ Judgment of the Constitutional Court of October 28, 2010, No. 124/2010; available in German (PDF; 129 kB) language on the website of the Constitutional Court; See also Standaard.be: Vlaanderen reads strijd over schoolinspectie (October 29, 2010) (ndl.).
- ↑ Judgment of the Court of Arbitration of November 9, 1995, No. 72/95, esp. B.11.2. ff .; available in German on the website (PDF) of the Constitutional Court.