Make Brussels region, not Brussels-City, capital of Belgium, says CD&V
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    Make Brussels region, not Brussels-City, capital of Belgium, says CD&V

    © Mavugo/Wikimedia
    © Mavugo/Wikimedia

    Flemish Christian democrat party CD&V will go into the regional elections in May supporting a platform which includes transferring the status of national capital from Brussels-City to the Brussels Capital Region, Bianca Debaets, secretary of state in the current regional government, has proposed. Debaets (pictured) is a Brussels minister for equal opportunities, and leads the CD&V list for the Brussels parliament in the May elections. Brussels region counts 18 communes other than Brussels-City, she pointed out, but only Brussels-City receives a bonus each year of 117 million euros specifically earmarked for its responsibilities as capital, mainly matters of protocol such as receiving foreign representatives.

    That sum is money that might otherwise be allocated to all 19 communes for important projects – taking only affairs in her own portfolio, for example, such as non-discrimination measures, road safety, animal welfare or digital development.

    “I’m thinking about wonderful but under-rated places like the Horta house in St-Gilles, the Museum of Ixelles, the Erasmus House in Anderlecht, the Laarbeek forest in Jette, the church of St John the Baptist in Molenbeek and so on,” she told Belga. “More and more Belgian and foreign visitors are discovering the other beautiful spots in Brussels. We ought to change the financing to suit.”

    As far as official functions are concerned, she suggests a rotation of the role along those of the 19 communes wishing to take part. “Why not have a Flanders Day celebration in the town hall of Schaerbeek or Jette?” she asked.

    The change requested, according to constitutional specialist Mathias El Berhoumi posting on Twitter, would require an amendment to Article 194 of the constitution, passed by a two-thirds majority in the federal parliament.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times