Far more political staff in French-speaking Belgium than in Flanders

Belgium has 31,800 politicians, administrators and cabinet members across all levels combined. This large number is mainly due to French-speaking Belgium, a new study shows. 

After Luxembourg and Portugal, Belgium has the highest number of MPs per million inhabitants in Europe. With seven regional and community parliaments, the country has a total of 592 MPs, 51 for every 1 million citizens. In addition, there are 54 ministers and 2,000 cabinet members, 13,300 municipal councillors and 9,580 directors of intercommunal companies, associations of municipalities whose purpose is to carry out tasks of common interest. 

In total, Belgium has 31,800 politicians, administrators and cabinet officials across all government levels. This large number is mainly due to French-speaking Belgium, according to a study by economists Jean Hindriks and Alexandra Lamfalussy of UCLouvain and Itinera.

There are more of all types of politicians in Wallonia and Brussels than in Flanders. Flanders has one minister per 740,000 inhabitants, while Brussels and Wallonia have one per 230,000. The three governments in Brussels and Wallonia also have the largest cabinets and the most MPs per capita. The French Community and the Walloon region have twice as many MPs per capita as Flanders. In Brussels, there are four times as many.

The numbers in the report show the complexity of Belgium’s government and parliamentary system, which is indicative of Belgium's federal structure and linguistic and cultural diversity. In Europe, only Portugal and Luxembourg have a higher number of MPs per million inhabitants than Belgium.


Walloon minister president Elio Di Rupo, prime minister Alexander De Croo and Flemish minister president Jan Jambon © BELGA PHOTO POOL OLIVIER HOSLET

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