Expatica news

Dehaene intent on state reform

9 July 2007

BRUSSELS – Negotiator Jean-Luc Dehaene is following a fast track to state reform by concentrating on constitutional article 35. This has emerged from a memo that Dehaene and his team are currently working on.

Article 35 of the constitution states that all powers lie with the states unless they have “explicitly” been assigned to the federal government. This list of federal powers however has never been drawn up and that is precisely what Dehaene would like the next government to do.

The next state reform will be “centripetal” rather than “centrifugal,” in the words of Dehaene’s memo. That means that the starting point is no longer what additional powers the states will be given, but rather what powers are constitutionally left to the federal government. An added benefit is the timing, since the list does not have to be definitively set before the start of the new government.

The fact that the negotiations will nonetheless be difficult was evident from an interview with Liberal MR leader Charles Michel. The liberal politician confirmed that his party is firmly opposed to splitting up the electoral district of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news