What are the powers of the new Belgian Government?


Updated on Friday 27 March 2020 – 10am

As of Tuesday 17 March 2020, there is a new Belgian government, composed of the parties of the outgoing government. All outgoing Ministers remain in place: they took the oath of office on Tuesday morning. This (minority) government will have full powers to deal with the corona crisis. Also, the Ministers will seek special powers from Parliament for a period of 6 months. A majority of MPs gave confidence to the government on Thursday 19 March 2020 in the afternoon. For non-corona matters, this remains a government with limited powers. A new vote of confidence will be organized within six months.

To summarize:

  • For corona issues: 
    • The Belgian Government will have the usual powers of a Government (i.e. powers granted to the King and Ministers based on existing laws and regulations). Until the vote of confidence in Parliament on 19 March 2020 (pm), these powers had to be used with some restraint, but urgent measures are allowed.
    • In addition, the Government will have limited special powers based on a special Act that is also expected to be approved by Parliament (see other section of Q&A).
  • For non-corona issues: 
    • The Government will only have the limited powers of an resigning government (“lopende zaken”/ “affaires courantes”).

This situation is unprecedented. It is the result of a political compromise.

Do not hesitate to contact William Timmermans for further information.

The above information is merely intended as comment on relevant issues of Belgian law and is not intended as legal advice. Before taking action or relying on the comments and the information given, please seek specific advice on the matters that are of concern to you.

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