Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

Court rules in favour of French-speakers in 'facility communes'

14:56 08/10/2021

Belgium’s Council of State has annulled a requirement for French-speakers living in the Dutch-speaking outskirts of Brussels to reapply each year to receive administrative documents in French.

There are six municipalities in Flemish Brabant which are known as facility communes, where residents can choose to conduct their business with the local authorities in French. They are Kraainem, Drogenbos, Linkebeek, Rhode-Saint-Genèse, Wemmel and Wezembeek-Oppem. 

An order by former Flemish home affairs minister Liesbeth Homans required that French-speakers reapply every year to receive their administrative documents in French - but the local councils in four of the six municipalities objected, a legal battle that has gone on for close to a decade.

In 2014, the administrative court had decided that a reasonable period should be four years - at the end of which the French-speakers would need to ask again to continue receiving their administrative documents in French.

The office of the current Flemish home affairs minister, Bart Somers, said that he is “taking note of the ruling and must discuss it with the Flemish government”.


Written by Richard Harris