Europe sends delegation to Belgium

14th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

A Council of Europe commission will investigate the failure to appoint three mayors in facility municipalities near Brussels.

14 May 2008

BELGIUM - A Council of Europe commission is in Belgium to investigate the failure to appoint 3 mayors in municipalities near Brussels.

The Council of Europe commission is investigating a conflict between the Flemish government and the three mayors. They have not yet been officially appointed in their post as mayor (since the last local council elections in October 2006).

The 3 municipalities in question are Kraainem, Linkebeek and Wezembeek-Oppem. The three municipalities are in Flanders but due to a large French-speaking community, they are municipalities with special linguistic dispensation, known as the so-called 'facility municipalities'.

The Council of Europe delegation comprises of an MP from Sweden, France and Serbia.

They have been talking with various representatives and authorities from the different administrations in Brussels and surroundings.

The three 'rapporteurs' are meeting with the three mayors and the Flemish Minister authorised to appoint the mayors, Marino Keulen.

The three rapporteurs are also speaking with members of the Brussels, German-speaking, and federal government. The Flemish parliament and the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (de Vereniging van Vlaamse Steden en Gemeenten -VVSG) is also being consulted.

This is the fifth time in 10 years that the Council of Europe is investigating the rights of minority groups in Belgium. The Council has already produced reports regarding the rights of Francophones living in facility municipalities and concerning the linguistic situation in hospitals in Brussels (where some of the employees do not speak sufficient Dutch).

The Council of Europe works for European integration with a particular emphasis on legal standards and the protection of human rights, democratic development and the rule of law in Europe.

As such, the Council of Europe does not have the competency to mete out penalties. The reports can however contain political disapproval, thus putting pressure on the specific authorities involved.

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