Constitution of Belgium
Article 1 [Federal State]
Belgium is a Federal State made up of Communities and Regions
Article 2 [Communities]
Belgium is made up of three Communities: the French Community, the Flemish Community, and the German-speaking Community.
Article 3 [Regions]
Belgium is made up of three Regions: the Walloon Region, the Flemish Region, and the Brussels Region.
Article 4 [Linguistic Regions]
(1) Belgium has four linguistic regions: the French-speaking Region, the Dutch-speaking Region, the bilingual Region of Brussels-Capital, and the German-speaking Region.
(2) Each commune of the Kingdom is part of one of these linguistic regions.
(3) The limits of the four linguistic regions can only be changed or modified by a law adopted by majority vote in each linguistic group in each House, on the condition that the majority of the members of each group are gathered together and from the moment that the total of affirmative votes given by the two linguistic groups is equal to at least two thirds of the votes expressed.
Article 5 [Provinces]
(1) The Walloon Region is made up of the following provinces: Walloon Brabant, Hainaut, Liege, Luxemburg, and Namur. The Flemish Region is made up of the following provinces: Antwerp, Flemish Brabant, West Flanders, East Flanders, and Limburg.
(2) By law, the territory can be divided into a greater number of provinces, if necessary.
(3) A law can shield certain territories whose limits it fixes, from division into provinces, make them depend directly on the federal executive power, and make them subject to a statute of their own. This law must be adopted by majority vote as provided for in Article 4, last paragraph.
Article 30 [Choice of Language]
The use of languages current in Belgium is optional; only the law can rule on this matter, and only for acts of the public authorities and for legal matters.
Article 43 [Linguistic Groups]
(1) For cases determined by the Constitution, the elected members of each House are divided into a French linguistic group and a Dutch linguistic group, in the manner determined by law.
(2) The senators referred to in Article 67 (1)(2,4,7) make up the French linguistic group of the Senate. The senators referred to in Article 67 (1)(1,3,6), make up the Dutch linguistic group of the Senate.
Article 115 [Councils]
(1.1) There is a French Community Council and a Flemish Community Council, named Flemish Council, the composition and the functioning of which are established by law, adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4, last paragraph.
(1.2) There is a German-speaking Community Council, the composition and the functioning of which are determined by law.
(2) Without prejudice to Article 137, regional bodies as described in Article 39 comprise a Council for each Region.
Article 121 [Community Governments]
(1.1) There is a French Community Government and a Flemish Community Government, the composition and functioning of which are established by law, adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4, last paragraph.
(1.2) There is a German-speaking Community Government, the composition and functioning of which are established by law.
(2) Without prejudice to Article 137, the Regional bodies described in Article 39 include a Government for each Region.
Article 129 [Decrees on Language]
(1) The French and Dutch Community Councils rule by decree, in as much as each is concerned, excluding the federal legislator, on the use of language for:
1) administrative matters;
2) education in those establishments created, subsidized, and recognized by public authorities;
3) social relations between employers and their personnel, in addition to corporate acts and documents required by law and by regulations.
(2) These decrees have force of law in French-language and in Dutch-language regions respectively except as concerns:
- those communes or groups of communes contiguous to another linguistic Region and in which the law prescribes or allows use of another language than that of the Region in which they are located. For these communes, a modification of the rules governing the use of languages as described in (1) may take place only through a law adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4, last paragraph;
- services the activities of which extend beyond the linguistic Region within which they are established;
- federal and international institutions designated by law, the activities of which are common to more than one Community.
Article 130 [German-speaking Community Council]
(1.1) The German-speaking Community Council rules by decree on:
1) cultural issues;
2) personal issues;
3) education, within the limits established by Article 127 (1)(1,2);
4) inter-Community co-operation, in addition to international co-operation, including the conclusion of treaties, for issues described in 1), 2), and 3).
(1.2) The law establishes cultural and persona issues described in 1) and 2), in addition to the forms of cooperation described in 4) and the manner in which treaties are concluded.
(2) These decrees have force of law in the German language Region.
Article 135 [Region of Brussels-Capital]
A law adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4, last paragraph, designates those authorities within the bilingual Region of Brussels-Capital which exercise those responsibilities not attributed to Communities as described in Article 128 (1).
Article 136 [Linguistic Groups in Brussels-Capital]
(1) There are linguistic groups within the Brussels-Capital Regional Council, and among the governing bodies, qualified with respect to Community issues; their composition, functioning, and responsibilities and, without prejudice to Article 175, their financing, are regulated by a law adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4, last paragraph.
(2) The governing bodies together form the United Governing Bodies, acting as an inter-Community consultation and coordination organ.
Article 137 [French and Flemish Community Council]
In view of the application of Article 39, the French and Flemish Community Councils, in addition to their respective Governments, may exercise the responsibilities, respectively, of the Walloon and of the Flemish Regional Governments, along the terms and according to those conditions established by law. This law must be adopted by a majority vote as described in Article 4, last paragraph.
Article 138 [French Community Responsibilities]
(1) The French Community Council, on one hand, and the Walloon Regional Council and the French linguistic group of the Brussels-Capital Regional Council, on the other hand, may decide of common accord and each by decree, that the Walloon Regional Council and Government in the French-language Region, and the Brussels-Capital Regional Council and its governing bodies in the bilingual Region of Brussels-Capital may exercise, in full or in part, the responsibilities of the French Community.
(2) These decrees are adopted by a two-thirds majority vote within the French Community Council, and by absolute majority within the Walloon Regional Council and by the French linguistic group within the Brussels-Capital Regional Council, provided that a majority of the Council members or of of the members of the linguistic group concerned are present. They may settle the financing of the responsibilities which they designate, in addition to transfers of personnel, of assets, of rights and of obligations which may concern them.
(3) These responsibilities are exercised, according to the case, either by decree, by order, or by ruling.
Article 139 [German- and Walloon Council]
(1) Upon request by their respective Governments, the German-speaking Community Council and the Walloon Regional Council may, by decree, decide of common accord that Walloon Regional responsibilities may be exercised in whole or in part by the German-speaking Community Council and Government in the German-language Region.
(2) These responsibilities may be exercised, according to the case, either by decree, by order, or by ruling.
Article 140 [Decrees of German-speaking Institutions]
(1) The German-speaking Community Council and Government exercise by means of decrees and rulings all other responsibilities attributed by law.
(2) Article 159 is applicable to these decrees and rulings.