Thus far, 20% of senior federal public servants have sat the compulsory language test one year after its introduction, and fewer than half (45%) have passed it, according to figures obtained by New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) parliamentarian Brecht Vermeulen, De Morgen daily reported on Monday. Since the 1st of May 2017, senior federal public servants must pass the test to show that they are functionally bilingual. They could be dismissed if they fail, as occurred in March with a director of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Public servants also cannot assess colleagues with a different mother tongue if they have not succeeded at the exam.
So far 474 senior public servants have sat the test, 148 of them Dutch-speaking and 66 French-speaking, according to the data, which was provided to Vermeulen following a question he had asked Public Service Minister Steven Vandeput (N-VA). Only 45% succeeded, half of the Dutch-speaking ones and 30% of the Francophones.