Brussels Capital Region
(BCR)
   The Brussels Capital Region (Région de Bruxelles-Capitale, Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest), one of three regions in Belgium stipulated in article 107 quater of the constitutional reform of 1970, emerged following the constitutional reforms of 1988, which were implemented in three stages. The region was created pursuant to the law of 12 January 1989 and regional authorities were set up from January to June 1989. The region encompasses the 19 communes of the metropolitan area and, as the successor to the agglomeration of greater Brussels, it represents the institutional embodiment of full federalization.
   The Council of the Brussels Region (Conseil de la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale, Brusselse Hoofdstedelijke Raad) is the legislative body, or parliament, of the region, composed of 64 French-speaking and 11 Dutch-speaking members elected for five-year terms under proportional representation. After 2004, there will exist 89 members of the council, 72 elected from French-language lists and 17 from Dutch-language lists. The council was first elected on 18 June 1989. It is headed by a president. Members may not hold communal or national offices. Dutch-language minority guarantees include the post of vice president of the council and at least one seat on every council committee. Voting is by simple majority and matters that might lead to discord between the two linguistic groups can be considered in sessions convoked by right of the parties (alarm bell procedure).
   The executive consists of a minister-president and four ministers— two French-speakers and two Dutch-speakers—elected by the council for four-year terms. In addition, three state secretaries, of whom at least one must be Dutch-speaking, assist the ministers, who are each responsible for specific portfolios. Decisions are reached by consensus. Ministers propose legislation, direct it through the council, draft budget proposals, implement legislation, and operate the regional administration.
   The BCR government is empowered to make ordinances, a new form of legal rule in Belgian public law. Ordinances comprise legislative acts that may amend, amplify, repeal, or replace existing legislation, and, like decrees, they are subject to full judicial review by the Court of Arbitration. However, they are also subject to limited review by the ordinary and administrative courts and the federal government. This type of legislation is necessitated so as to protect Brus-sels's status both as the national capital and as the headquarters of European and international organizations.
   The region is endowed with powers to set and supervise policies encompassing planning and land use, housing, economic and industrial development, job placement, transportation and public works, and environmental protection as well as energy policy and exterior commerce as these matters apply to the region. Pararegional organizations are under the direct control of the region. They include the regional agency for sanitation, the Brussels Institute for Management of the Environment, and the Brussels Regional Fire Brigade and Medical Emergency. Other agencies are run by a board of directors or a management unit under the authority of the region. They include the Brussels Regional Employment Office, the Brussels Regional Housing Authority, and the Port of Brussels Regional Company. Still others—the Brussels Regional Development Agency, the Brussels Regional Investment Company, and the Brussels Public Transport Company—are independent.
   The first regional government consisted of a coalition of Socialists, Christian Socials, the Front démocratique des Francophones, and the Volksunie. Charles Piqué, a Socialist and then burgomaster of Saint-Gilles, was chosen minister-president. Subsequent regional elections took place on 21 May 1995, 13 June 1999, and 18 May 2003. See appendix D for a list of minister-presidents. See appendix G for a schema of the government of the Brussels Capital Region.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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