Belgian government clears way for major state reform after June elections

The Belgian government on Friday agreed on which articles of the Constitution can be amended by the next parliament, clearing the way for major state reform after elections in June.

As is customary at the end of a legislative period, the Belgian government has agreed on which parts of the Constitution can be amended in the next term. 

The mechanism is designed to prevent the Constitution from being easily upended by an accidental majority. However, it has a loophole that the current government has decided to utilize. 

By declaring that Article 195 of the Constitution can be amended, the government is effectively paving the way for the entire Constitution to be revised at once in the next legislature.

Opening door to state reform

Belgium's current parliament, which will soon be dissolved ahead of elections, has yet to approve the decision. If it does, the move could open the door to major state reform after the elections on 9 June 2024.

Whether or not there will be a profound state reform still depends on the outcome of these elections. The next parliament would have to approve any constitutional changes with a two-thirds majority. 

"With a revision of Article 195, work on a new state structure can begin after the elections," said Annelies Verlinden, minister of the Interior, Institutional Reform and Democratic Renewal.

"This should lead to reinforcing the regions in their autonomy and the federal level in its strength," Verlinden said, calling the move an "important step for the future of our country."


The government did not place any restrictions on the direction of a possible state reform, prime minister Alexander De Croo said. Confederalism, as advocated by the Flemish nationalist party N-VA, is therefore still on the table.

Belgium is currently a federal state, dividing powers between a federal government and regional governments. During past state reforms, more and more powers were transferred from the federal to the regional level.

Confederalism would reverse this approach by giving all powers to the regions, which can then decide together which powers they will continue to exercise together at the confederal level.



Prime minister Alexander De Croo and Interior minister Annelies Verlinden during a press conference on constitutional reform on 03 May 2024 © BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT

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