Article 1. Belgium is a federal State composed of Communities and Regions. Article 2. Belgium comprises three Communities: the Flemish Community, the French
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THE BELGIAN CONSTITUTION This publication contains the text of the Belgian Constitution as updated following the sixth institutional reform (constitutional revisions of 6 January 2014 Belgian Official Gazette of 31 January 2014) MAY 2014 BELGIAN HOUSE OF REPRESEN T A TIVES
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3 CONTENTS Title I On federal Belgium, its components and its territory 5 Title I bis On general political objectives of federal Belgium, the Communities and the Regions 6 Title II On Belgians and their rights 6 Title III On powers 12 Chapter I On the federal Houses 15 Section I On the House of Representatives 20 Section II On the Senate 22 Chapter II On federal legislative power 27 Chapter III On the King and the Federal G overnment 32 Section I On the King 32 Section II On the Federal Government 34 Section III On responsibilities 36 Chapter IV On Communities and Regions 38 Section I On bodies 38 Sub – section I On Community and Regional Parliaments 38 Sub – section II On Community and Regional Governments 40 Section II On responsibilities 43 Sub – section I On the responsibilities of the Communities 43 Sub – section II On the competences of the Regions 45 Sub – section III Special provisions 45 Chapte r V On the Constitutional Court, and the prevention and resolution of conflicts 47 Section I On the prevention of conflicts of competence 47 Section II On the Constitutional Court 47 Section III On the prevention and the settlement of conflicts of interest 48
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4 Chapter VI On judicial power 48 Chapter VII On the Council of State and administrative courts 54 Chapter VIII On provincial and municipal institutions 55 Title IV On international relations 57 Title V On finances 58 Title VI On the armed forces and the police service 61 Title VII General provisions 62 Title VIII On the revision of the Constitution 63 Title IX The entry into force and transitional provisions 66
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5 THE CONSTITUTION TITLE I O n federal B elgium , its cOmpOnents and its territ O ry Article 1 Belgium is a federal State composed of Communities and Regions. Article 2 Belgium comprises three Communities: the Flemish Community, the French Com – munity and the German – speaking Community. Article 3 Belgium comprises three Regions: the Flemish Region, the Walloon Region and the Brussels Region. Article 4 Belgium comprises four linguistic regions: the Dutch – speaking region, the French – speaking region, the bilingual region of Brussels – Capital and the German – speaking region. Each municipality of the Kingdom forms part of one of these linguistic regions. The boundaries of the four linguistic regions can only be changed or corrected by a law passed by a majority of the votes cast in each linguistic group in each House, on condition that a majority of the members of each group is present and provided that the total number of votes in favour that are cast in the two linguistic groups is equal to at least two thirds of the votes cast. Article 5 The Flemish Region comprises the following provinces: Antwerp, Flemish Brabant, West Flanders, East Flanders and Limburg. The Walloon Region comprises the following provinces: Walloon Brabant, Hainaut, Liege, Luxembourg and Namur. A law can exclude certain territories, of which it establishes the boundaries, from division into provinces, bring them directly under the federal executive power and subject them to a specific statute. This law must be passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.
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6 Article 6 Provincial subdivisions can only be established by virtue of a law. Article 7 The boundaries of the State, the provinces and the municipalities can only be changed or corrected by virtue of a law. TITLE I BIS O n general pOlitical OBjectives Of federal B elgium , the c Ommunities and the r egiOns Article 7 bis In the exercise of their respective competences, the Federal State, the Communities and the Regions pursue the objectives of sustainable development in its social, economic and environmental aspects, taking into account the solidarity between the generations. TITLE II O n B elgians and their rights Article 8 The status as a Belgian citizen is acquired, kept and lost according to rules established by civil law. The Constitution and the other laws concerning political rights, establish, apart from this status, the necessary conditions for the exercising of these rights. In a departure from the second paragraph, the law can, in accordance with international and supranational obligations, establish a right to vote for citizens of the European Union who are not Belgian citizens. The right to vote referred to in the preceding paragraph can be extended by a law to Belgian residents who are not citizens of a Member State of the European Union, under the conditions and in accordance with the terms specified in such a law. Transitional provision The law referred to in the fourth paragraph cannot be passed before 1 January 2001.
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8 Except in the case of a flagrant offence, no one can be arrested except on the – eight hours from the deprivation of liberty and which may only result in provisional detention. Article 13 No one can be s eparated, against his will, from the judge that the law has assigned to him. Article 14 No punishment can be introduced or administered except by virtue of the law. Capital punishment is abolished. Article 14 bis Article 15 home is inviolable ; no house search may take place except in the cases provided for by the law and in the form prescribed by the law. Article 16 No one can be deprived of his property except in the case of expropriation for a public purpose, in the cases and manner established by the law and in return for fair compensation paid beforehand. Article 17 Assets may not be confiscated as a means of punishment. Article 18 Civil death is abolished; it cannot be re – introduced.
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9 Article 19 Freedom of worship, its public practice and freedom to demonstrate opinions on all matters are guaranteed, but offences committed when this freedom is used may be punished. Article 20 No one can be obliged to contribute in any way whatsoever to the acts and cer – emonies of a religion or to observe its days of rest. Article 21 The State does not have the right to intervene either in the appointment or in the installation of ministers of any religion whatsoever or to forbid these ministers from corresponding with their superiors, from publishing the acts of these superiors, but, in this latter case, normal responsibilities as regards the press and publishing apply. A civil wedding should always precede the blessing of the marriage, apart from the exceptions to be established by the law if needed. Article 22 Everyone has the right to the respect of his private and family life, except in the cases and conditions determined by the law. The laws, federate laws and rules referred to in Article 134 guarantee the protec – tion of this right. Article 22 bis Each child is entitled to have his or her moral, physical, mental and sexual integrity respected. Each child has the right to express his or her views in all matters affecting him or her, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with his or her age and maturity. Each child has the right to benefit from measures and facilities which promote his or her development. In all decisions concerning children, the interest of the child is a primary consideration. The law, federate law or rule referred to in Article 134 ensures these rights of the child. Article 23 Everyone has the right to lead a life in keeping with human dignity.
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10 To this end, the laws, federate laws and rules referred to in Article 134 guarantee economic, social and cultural rights, taking into account corresponding obligations, and determine the conditions for exercising them. These rights include among others: 1° the right to employment and to the free choice of an occupation within the context of a general employment policy, aimed among others at ensuring a level of employment that is as stable and high as possible, the right to fair terms of employment and to fair remuneration, as well as the right to information, consultation and collective negotiation; 2° the right to social security, to health care and to social, medical and legal aid; 3° the right to decent accommodation; 4° the right to the protection of a healthy environment; 5° the right to cultural and social fulfilment; 6° the right to family allowances. Article 24 § 1. Education is free; any preventive measure is forbidden; the punishment of offences is regulated only by the law or federate law. The community offers free choice to parents. The community organises non – denominational education.This implies in particular the respect of the philosophical, ideological or religious beliefs of parents and pupils. Schools run by the public authorities offer, until the end of compulsory education, the choice between the teaching of one of the recognised religions and non – denominational ethics teaching. § 2. If a community, in its capacity as an organising authority, wishes to delegate powers to one or several autonomous bodies, it can only do so by federate law adopted by a two – thirds majority of the votes cast. § 3. Everyone has the right to education with the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms. Access to education is free until the end of compulsory education. All pupils of school age have the right to moral or religious education at the expense. § 4. All pupils or students, parents, teaching staff or institutions are equal before the law or federate law. The law and federate law take into account objective differences, in particular the characteristics of each organising authority that warrant appropriate treatment. § 5. The organisation, the recognition and the subsidising of education by the community are regulated by the law or federate law.
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11 Article 25 The press is free; censorship can never be introduced; no security can be demanded from authors, publishers or printers. When the author is known and resident in Belgium, neither the publisher, the printer nor the distributor can be prosecuted. Article 26 Belgians have the right to gather peaceably and without arms, in accordance with the laws that can regulate the exercise of this right, without submitting it to prior authorisation. This provision does not apply to open air meetings, which are entirely subject to police regulations. Article 27 Belgians have the right to enter into association or partnership; this right cannot be subject to any preventive measure. Article 28 Everyone has the right to address petitions signed by one or more persons to the public authorities. Constituted bodies are alone entitled to address petitions under a collective name. Article 29 The confidentiality of letters is inviolable. The law determines which officials may violate the confidentiality of letters entrusted to the postal service. Article 30 The use of languages spoken in Belgium is optional; only the law can rule on this matter, and only for acts of the public authorities and for judicial affairs.
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