The consultation committee of this Wednesday, September 8 approved three agreements to move forward in the preparations for a 7th state reform, it emerged Thursday evening from a press release from the Dutch-speaking Minister for Institutional Reforms, Annelies Verlinden (CD&V ).
All of the country’s governments will assess the internal functioning of government institutions at all levels and engage in dialogue between them, according to the minister. “We can thus examine together in which areas Belgium can and must do better“.
The agreements relate to the exchange of files covering the points of friction in terms of the distribution of competences between the federal and federated administrations, on the participation of the federated entities in thematic working groups revolving around the reform of the State and on the creation of an inter-federal administrative taskforce.
Survey of public services
Thus, the two Ministers of Institutional Reforms, Annelies Verlinden and David Clarinval (MR), will organize, in collaboration with the federated entities, a survey of the various federal and federated public services on the subject of the problems they encounter in terms of the distribution of skills. The results are expected by November 30, 2021. A procedure has also been agreed to collect and exchange information between the various authorities in the country in order to prepare for state reform.
Official inter-federal thematic working groups will be set up around different areas of competence, in which both the federal administrations and those of the federated entities will participate. In addition to preparing for state reform, these inter-federal working groups can also discuss how federal policy and that of federated entities can be better harmonized pending state reform, for example. by means of an asymmetrical federal policy adapted to the needs of the federated entities, as is the case in the fields of labor market policy and health care, according to Annelies Verlinden.
Finally, the inter-federal administrative taskforce will make it possible to exchange information between the federated entities and for the organization of inter-federal thematic working groups.
The federal government agreement provides for a new state structure from 2024, with a more homogeneous and efficient distribution of powers. “This should lead to a strengthening of the federated entities in their autonomy and of the federal level in its power.“, under the terms of the agreement.