Belgium’s Senate President wants to abolish the Senate

Belgium’s Senate President wants to abolish the Senate
Illustration image of the Senate. Credit: Belga

A concrete plan to abolish the Senate once and for all must be ready before the 2024 elections, says current Senate President Stephanie D’Hose.

Plans to abolish the Senate regularly pop up in the press, but this time the chair of the Senate herself is advocating its abolition, in an interview with Het Nieuwsblad.

Her experience as president has taught her that the institution is hardly useful, said D’Hose, who has been president for a year and a half. From the end of February, she plans to install a separate Senate committee to prepare the plan to abolish it.

Translation: “We are putting forward a concrete plan to completely dismantle the Senate politically. That way, the first session of the Senate after the 2024 elections can also be the last.”

For Egbert Lachaert, the president of the Flemish liberal Open Vld party, of which D’Hose is a member, the most important thing is that the Senate ceases to exist as a separate political institution.

“It costs the taxpayer €40 million a year, while the Senate hardly has any added value,” he said in the same interview, adding that there has been a consensus among the other Flemish parties for some time now that the Senate no longer has a future.

‘Political renewal’

This Federal Government’s coalition agreement includes a short passage on the Senate in the section on “political renewal,” reports De Standaard.

‘To deepen this first set of reforms, a dynamic will be launched in the Chamber of Representatives, involving citizens, the university world and society. This process aims to examine how the Constitution and legislation can be modernised to make them more democratic,’ the agreement states.

One of the subjects to be discussed then is precisely the continued existence of the Senate. However, the Senate still has more than 150 staff members.

“Very good and passionate people work here,” said D’Hose. “They must retain a place in the future Federal Parliament or its associated institutions. I have already discussed this with my colleague from the Chamber, Eliane Tillieux. She is willing to cooperate.”

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