- The communities in Brussels are institutions created in conjunction with federalization that facilitate the exercise of governing powers involving culture (including sports and tourism), education, and certain welfare and social services, including assistance provided to youth, seniors, immigrants, and the handicapped.The communities are based on the language group they serve and so the community institutions in Wallonia and Flanders have competence in the bilingual Brussels Capital Region (BCR) over the latter's French-speaking and Dutch-speaking residents, respectively. These bodies are endowed with law-making powers. There are 19 members of the BCR Council sitting on the Council of the French Community and 11 members of the BCR Council on the Flemish Council, which is the single body handling both regional and community powers in Flanders. After 2004, the 11 members will increase to 22, including 17 Dutch-speaking members of the Brussels Regional Council and 5 others chosen from nonelected candidates on Dutch-language electoral lists.There are three implementing bodies in the Brussels Capital Region: the Commission of the French Community (La Commission de la Communauté française [COCOF]), the Commission of the Flemish Community (De Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie [VGC]), and a joint commission—La Commission communautaire commune (COCOM)/De Gemeenschappelijke Gemeenschapscommissie (GGC). These agencies were established in 1989 with the creation of the institutions of the BCR. The COCOF and VGC are successor organizations to cultural commissions set up in 1971 on establishment of the agglomeration.The COCOF consists of a legislature (assemblée) composed of French-speaking members of the BCR Council and an executive (collège) composed of French-speaking ministers and state secretaries of the BCR government. The VGC consists of a legislature (vergader-ing) composed of Dutch-speaking members of the BCR Council and an executive (college), composed of Dutch-speaking ministers and state secretaries of the BCR government. The COCOM has a parliament composed of the full BCR Council and its executive consists of the ministers of the BCR government. It handles matters common to both communities as well as affairs pertinent to residents who find themselves nonmembers of the two linguistic groups. The COCOF and VGC are not endowed with law-making powers but, rather, adopt implementing regulations (règlements, reglementen) under the supervision of the French and Flemish communities. However, on 1 January 1994 the French Community transferred certain drafting powers to the regions, which for Brussels meant that the COCOF can adopt measures (décrets) pertaining to matters such as culture, school busing, and certain welfare benefits. The COCOM has decree-making (ordonnance, ordonnatie) powers.Brussels became the capital of the Flemish Community by a decree of 6 March 1984. Its status as the capital of the French Community followed by a decree of 10 May 1984.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.