Area of Brussels-Capital
See also: Brussels (homonymy)
The Région of Brussels-Capital is one of the three Régions which composes the Belgium. It has a relatively reduced territory of 161 km ², entirely urbanized. It counts more than one million inhabitants.
This officially bilingual city-area is inhabited by a majority of Belgian French-speaking people (from 85 to 90% of the inhabitants are of French language, of which nearly 33% of the total are Allophone S) and by a Flemish minority (from 10 to 15% of the population). She is made up of 19 common autonomous, comparable of many inhabitants with the 20 Parisian Arrondissements but without a burgomaster " commun" with the unit.
Because of the presence on his territory of many international institutions, one finds there important concentrations of inhabitants resulting from the other countries of the European Union. To the latter are added communities of migrants resulting not only from the old Belgian colonies (Democratic republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Burundi, in Black Africa) but also resulting from the Maghreb (in particular of the Morocco), of Turkey, America, Asia (Iran, Pakistan…), making Area a cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic unit. The immigrants who are not already French-speaking generally seek to learn how French after their installation in order to be integrated as well as possible into the company of Brussels. The civils servant of the institutions of the European Union come from all the Convention countries and often know, in addition to their national language, English and/or French.
Birth of the Area of Brussels-Capital
The Francization of Brussels and the Inhabitants of BrusselsHistorically Brussels was the capital of the Duché of the Brabant which included part of the Flanders and current Wallonia. It was then attached to the Burgundy before being united, after the death of Charles Bold the, with the possessions of Maximilien de Habsbourg with the Franche-Comté and different the provinces from the Netherlands at the time of its marriage with Marie of Burgundy. Brussels and the Duchy of the Brabant were at the cultural borders of worlds of the Latin and Germanic languages. The Hasbourg domination involved a reflu Romanes languages in the Netherlands Spanish which stabilized themselves as from the XVIIIe century. Brussels was then in fact dominated by the Flemish culture and dialects. With resulting from the Belgian revolution, Brussels is become again an officially French-speaking city in the logic of the movement initiated at the 18th century which led, during first half of the 20th century to a change of linguistic majority. Movement which was strongly accentuated by the demographic vitality of the French-speaking people to reach the current proportions, estimated at approximately 85 to 90% of French-speaking people and 15 to 10% the Dutch-speaking ones.
At the time of the independence of Belgium in 1831, the population of Brussels used various Flemish dialects although the elites were generally of French expression, and that a considerable surge of French-speaking people during the end of XVIIIe and beginning of the XIXe century was initiated. The city became the capital of a new State whose selected official language was French; French who was not the native tongue of most of the population of the country.
The Walloons (Latin living in the south of the country) represented at the time about half of the Belgian population and the Flemings (populations of Germanic language living in the northern part) other half. The institutions and central administrations of the new State, functioning only in French, called upon civils servant coming from the south of the country, where the French language was established already much, which was regarded as more practical for the Belgian administration. This led to their on-representation in the central services of the State in Brussels. On the other hand, for the Dutch-speaking ones of the country (Flemings), only those of them (fewer) knowing French already had also the possibility of making a national career in Brussels. That thus locally created in Brussels a strong pressure in favor of the more and more generalized training of French, then, beyond, with the progressive assimilation linguistic, which did not occur in the remainder of the Flanders.
These demographic and political factors contributed to refranciser Brussels by the mediums of the businesses, the trade, the culture and the policy. In some generations even the Flemish middle-class of Brussels was assimilated to the French language, then it was the turn of the popular classes, in a preoccupation with a social rise. Thus, much of unilingual Dutch-speaking parents their children in French-speaking schools registered. These children thus became bilingual. To the adulthood they sent their own children to the French-speaking school and especially they used only French between them. Their children became unilingual French-speaking people then. This is why, in only two or three generations, the majority of the families of Brussels of Flemish origin passed from a Flemish unilinguism to Flemish/French bilingualism, then bilingualism with the French unilinguism. The process of Francization collective and voluntary, but under strong political pressure, administrative and social, was thus carried out.
The installation during second half of the 20th century of important groups of populations coming from other countries of Europe and besides in world (Africa, Asia, Latin America, etc), in particular coming from the old Belgian colonies (Congo, Rwanda, Burundi), also consolidated the Francization of Brussels. Indeed, even the immigrants not-French-speaking people generally chose French like language of reference and of intercultural convergence and it is overall always the case today.
There remains a Dutch-speaking Flemish minority which preserves a certain Flemish linguistic heritage in the capital.
The problem BrusselsBrussels is an enclave massively Francophone surrounded by the Flemish Région and the Flemish authorities imply that Brussels is a threat by allowing a progressive extension of the French-speaking spot of oil towards the periphery of the agglomeration of Brussels, periphery which depends on the Flemish Area. and not of the administrative Area of the Capital. Among these Flemish communes of the periphery, several are mainly French-speaking what involves many Community problems of share the absence of recognition of the Francophone minority on the territory of the Flemish area.
Thus much of Flemings affirm that after to be francized itself, the Area of Brussels-Capital " francize" its periphery located out of Flemish ground. However there is no process of assimilation of Dutch-speaking common peripherals and it is only the demography of the already French-speaking inhabitants which induces that those are found majority in certain communes.
The Area of Brussels-Capital, populated of 1 million inhabitants, is made of 19 communes of which that of Brussels-City (145 000 inhabitants). In comparison, the Walloon region counts 3,4 million inhabitants and the Flemish Area 5,9 million. On the 3 federate Areas which constitute Belgium today, that of Brussels-Capital (although officially bilingual) is one of the 2 Areas with clear French-speaking majority (with Wallonia), while the Flanders is it with Dutch-speaking majority.
At the time of the installation of the 3 Areas, the Flemish nationalists considering with the contempt of the history that Brussels is a Flemish ground found confronted with the problem of the creation of an Area of Brussels. Since this situation crystallizes part of the Community tensions in particular following the area division of the Brabant in a Flemish zone and a zone wallone.
Consequently, for the Flemings, Brussels-Capital could not have too broad borders and could not become an area like the others, with the risk to see two French-speaking areas meeting. They then imposed a buffer zone between Brussels and Wallonia by having a discriminatory policy towards the French-speaking people although those are majority in the communes of Drogenbos, Linkebeek, Wezembeek-Oppem, Kraainem, Wemmel and Rhode-Saint-Genesis. The tensions were carried to the maximum when voters were prohibited of inscription on the electoral rolls because French-speaking by single the échevine Flemish Anne Sobrie of Rhode-Saint-Genesis. The Flemish nationalists organized a walk for Flemish independence with Rhode-Saint-Genesis on May 6th, 2007. Indeed the fastening of the common French-speaking people to Brussels would induce a direct contact with Wallonia and potentially a fusion of the two French-speaking areas. This is strongly fought as well by the Flemish authorities because Flemish profits from an over-representation in Brussels (50% representatives at the regional government of Brussels for only 10-15% of the population), and by the Flemish nationalists who refuse as frontier territories mainly French-speaking are attached to the French-speaking areas.
This is why the Flemings accepted only in 1989 the creation of an area specifically of Brussels, in the condition that n the other hand bilingualism is recognized there with a representation guaranteed for the Dutch-speaking minority and especially the integral parity on the level of the regional government (with the same number of Dutch-speaking ministers as French-speaking).
The Inhabitants of Brussels, as for them, wanted the creation of a central area and, Brussels being a city de facto French-speaking, they did not want a parity linguistic pure and simple in the political bodies of this area.
The compromise of 1989 was thus difficult to obtain in the two communities and is still today source of important tensions between Flemish and the French-speaking people.
Indeed in addition to this opposition of principle between Dutch-speaking of Flanders (on the one hand) and French-speaking people of Brussels and Wallonia (on the other hand), Brussels had the effect of being the place of the political and administrative centralization of the State.
At the end of the years 1960 and with the beginning of the year 1970, this specific problem fitted in that, broader, of the existence of designs different in connection with the reform from the State. Regionalization was at the time especially desired by Walloon mediums, while in Flanders the partisans of autonomy primarily conceived it like cultural: why regionalize decision making in a State where they were majority?
The heart of the conflict to the national plan was then cultural, linguistic, economic and political: the presence of two concurrent national communities; for example in 1968, the students and the French-speaking professors of the University of Louvain were constrained, by a minority extremist of the Dutch-speaking professors of the institution, to leave the site and to leave to settle elsewhere.
Missed regionalizationAt the time of the constitutional revision of 1970, article 107 quater new addition with this one lays down the creation of three areas and entrusts to the " special law " the care to concretize it. However, following the failure of the practical application of the " pact of Egmont " and of the " agreements of Stuyvenberg " in 1978, the special law of August 8th, 1980 creating the regional institutions did not comprise any relative tendency with the Area of Brussels, this because of impossibility of releasing a political agreement in this connection.
The Area of Brussels was then " setting with the frigo" during 8 years, period during which it is a law of July 1979 which continued to apply. Under the terms of this law, Brussels is directed by a departmental committee of three members, a minister and two Secretaries of State, persons in charge before the National parliament, while the Agglomération of Brussels created in 1971 continuous to deal with the management of the city.
The “refrigerator”This setting with the refrigerator of Brussels will have important consequences, since during 8 years, the city cannot develop an own policy. For this period, also, the institutional solution seemed to move away. The Flemish parties were reticent to see in Brussels an area with whole share and seemed to support a joint management by the two communities or directly by the national State. The French-speaking parties, as for them, did not seem to have of clear vision of the structures to give to the Area and the operation of those, in particular on the question of the linguistic parity, with, to a certain extent, an opposition enters the components Walloon and of Brussels of the French-speaking Belgian parties.
The regionalization of 1989It is not that in 1988 qu ' a political agreement is found ( to see above in the paragraph " the Bruxelles" problem; ), agreement which leads to the special law of January 12th, 1989, relating to the institutions of Brussels. This law creates the Area of Brussels-Capital, on the territory of the 19 communes, and sets up its legislative bodies and executive. In addition, it transfers to the Area the exercise from competences from the Agglomeration and rule the exercise from Community competences by creating the Community Commissions in particular.
The June 18th 1989, for the first time, the Inhabitants of Brussels elected their regional representatives directly. Brussels since then constitutes an Autonomous region, comparable with the Areas Flemish and Walloon.
It is useful to specify that, contrary to the other areas, the government of the Area of Brussels-Capital adopts ordinances and not decrees (the name is different, but the legislative value is the same one).
Public transportBrussels is served by 4 large national companies or semi-main roads. It there with the the STIB, company of Brussels, De Lijn, Flemish company, tce, Walloon company and the SNCB, railway network.
The Area is composed of 19 communes, Brussels-city in the center and being surrounded by the 18 others. Geographically speaking, the 19 communes form only one and even dense agglomeration as a population. The agglomeration of Brussels real is not limited to the borders of the Area and overflows on the Flanders. The 19 communes are (followed by their zip codes):
- Anderlecht (1070)
- Auderghem (1160)
- Berchem-Holy-Agathe (1082)
- Brussels-city (1000, 1020 Laeken, 1120 Neder-Over-Heembeek, 1130 Haeren)
- Etterbeek (1040)
- Evere (1140)
- Forest (1190)
- Ganshoren (1083)
- Ixelles (1050)
- Throws (1090)
- Koekelberg (1081)
- Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (1080)
- Saint-Gilles (1060)
- Saint-Jose-ten-Noode (1210)
- Schaerbeek (1030)
- Uccle (1180)
- Watermael-Boitsfort (1170)
- Woluwe-Saint-Lambert (1200)
- Woluwe-Saint-Pierre (1150)
The area of Brussels-Capital is distinguished from both others by its official bilingualism: French and Dutch are used there in all the public services (administrations, hospital, police force,…). French is very largely majority in the population (between 85 and 90%) and in each of the 19 communes (the Dutch-speaking ones are minority there everywhere).
The policy option of the maintenance of the 19 communes
It is advisable to recall that everywhere else in Belgium, the public authorities amalgamated the existing communes to make larger, more populated entities of them and thus to ensure of the economies of scale, often, to even gain in effectiveness of management.
In the Area of Brussels-Capital, the problem did not arise according to the same terms: on the one hand, the common there already generally are very populated compared to the national average, which means that they already reached a critical mass of management that all small isolated communes would not have the capacity to have (from where fusions in these cases); in addition, the political main forces of the area refuse any reform going in the direction of the removal of the 19 common inhabitants of Brussels.
This policy option deliberated to maintain the existence of the common of the area answers a logic of representativeness of the citizens , according to the argument used by principal the Parti S of Brussels. Indeed, the Gouvernement of the Area is an entirely and paritairement bilinguized institution, which means that the Francophones and the Néerlandophones are represented there by the same number of ministers, whereas the Francophones form nearly 90% to the population (they are estimates) and Dutch-speaking approximately the 10%.
Thus, this variation of Brussels, between proportion of the population and representation , which exists on the level of the Area is " compensé" politically by a representation more " proportionnelle" population in 19 town councils (" gouvernements" buildings), where one finds on average 9 alderman S French-speaking people for 1 Dutch-speaking alderman, which is about in conformity with the linguistic distribution of the population in the communes and, therefore, of the Inhabitants of Brussels.
This is why the " simplicity " of a measurement of local management such as communal fusion, if it is obvious in the other areas, is not it inevitably in an area like Brussels where linguistic stakes and Community major exist.
Thus, for very many Inhabitants of Brussels, especially among the French-speaking majority, the removal of the communes signifirait " simply " rupture of a " équilibre" institutional already fragile inhabitant of Brussels and often in addition disputed; for much, it would amount making disappear the local Représentativité of the French-speaking people, who are very definitely majority in the population (approximately 90%), to reduce their political representation to only 50% on the level of the communal Gouvernement (since there would be from now on only one commune in Brussels probably amalgamated with the Area), which would constitute a serious democratic deficit, according to the principal parties of Brussels and, to a certain extent, according to the general principles into force with the the Council of Europe…
For the Flemish S, on the other hand, it seems being natural that, on the assumption of the fusion of the 19 common in only one, the number of alderman S of the new commune ( currently on average 90% French-speaking aldermen for 10% Dutch-speaking ) from now on is aligned on the proportion 50/50 which exists on the level of the number of Ministers for the Area of Brussels. It is even probable that the new commune would be amalgamated with the Area, consequently the choice of the linguistic proportions would be surely that existing already on the level of the Area, therefore not corresponding to the linguistic proportions of the population.
The stake of the maintenance of the 19 communes, in the institutional context of Brussels, thus seems more related to the questions of linguistic representativeness and population, therefore more complex than a " simple" opposition between partisans of a " good management communale" on a side and in favor of a maintenance of 19 entities " medieval and rétrogrades" other.
Many a French-speaking, moreover, would not be unfavourable with a fusion of the 19 common of Brussels, but they would wish in this case that guarantees are given in favor of a real representativeness of the linguistic groups in the new institutions, in accordance with their actual weight in the population. This is why such a reform towards a fusion of common the inhabitant of Brussels, if she is sometimes considered to be necessary, is difficult to implement, because she butts against resistances in both speech communities, for opposite reasons. For the Flemings also, since it would mean for them the risk of the handing-over in question of the privilege of the " 50%" from which they currently profit within the government of Brussels, knowing that they form approximately 10 to 15% of the population of Brussels.
In short, the file of the possible fusion of the 19 common inhabitants of Brussels remains a highly significant and thorny question in the institutional and political context current of Brussels-Capital. If a consensus seems to be able to emerge on the question of a rationalization and a simplification of local management (what pleads in favor of a fusion), on the other hand in fact the same methods of this potential communal fusion pose problems to both speech communities, from where for example the current opposition of many French-speaking parties on this question whereas on the funds they subscribe to it sometimes.
Population by commune
Recent evolution and many foreigners
Figures of the population of right to July first of each year:
Population by origin
source of the data of this table: T. Eggerickx and Al , Of immigrant bevolking in België, Algemene Volks- in Woningtelling COp 1 maart 1991, Monografie NR. 3,1999, Nationaal Instituut voor of Statistiek
Policy of Brussels-Capital
See also: Political of Brussels-Capital
See also: Political of Belgium
Regional institutionsThe Area of Brussels-Capital exerts regional competences within its territory, where it creates and applies ordinances.
The Parlement of Brussels consists of 89 members elected with the Vote for all by the inhabitants of 19 common forming the Area. Its president is Eric Tomas (PS) and its first vice-president is Jos Chabert (CD&V). Among the 89 deputies, 72 belong to the linguistic group French and 17 of the linguistic group Dutch . Each group sits in addition separately within its respective assembly: Parliament of the French Community Commission (French-speaking Parliament of Brussels) and Parliament of the Flemish Community Commission (raad VGC).
The Regional government of Brussels is chosen by the Parliament for one five years duration. It is currently composed of five ministers and three Secretaries of State, and is chaired by Charles Picqué (PS).
Community institutionsInhabitants of Brussels French-speaking and Of Brussels Flemish have their own administrative political institutions and, COCOF, French Community Commission for the French-speaking people and VGC Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie for the Flemings. The matters bicommunautaires, i.e. the matters which cannot be related to a particular speech community in the area are managed by the Community Commission Commune-Gemeenschappelijke Gemeenschapscommissie (COCOM).
A school of Brussels, as a teaching institution, depends is French community if the school is French-speaking, that is to say Flemish Communauté if it is Dutch-speaking, and this so much as regards the wages of the teachers than with regard to the taught programs. These is a complex compromise, but which allows a peaceful cohabitation of the two cultures of this country.
Economic hinterland of the Area: institutional characteristicsThe federate Area of Brussels recovers only part of the economic zone of influence of Brussels-Capital: the other " part; déborde" on the territory of the two other Areas of the country, on the one hand in the province of the Flemish Brabant, on the other hand in the province of the Walloon Brabant. That confers the characteristic to him to have part of its infrastructures managed by the institutions of other areas (it is the case for the section of Brussels of the network " De Lijn" , for example), and sometimes certain infrasctructures are quite simply in the two other areas ( case of the airports, to see below). There are thus two cases to differentiate: infrastructures located out of the territory (logically managed by the other Areas) and those located on the territory of Brussels-Capital (y-a it same reciprocity as regards management?).
Airports all located out of the regional territory: a specificity of Brussels-CapitalThis paragraph does not relate to the general information and practical details of air transport in Brussels: for that please refer to the article " Brussels " and with the detailed article " airports serving Brussels " .
The Area of Brussels-Capital does not have airports on its territory and its institutions do not manage any of it. The characteristic of the Area is that it is been useful by two airports all located apart from its administrative territory ( in addition, they are the two principal airports of Belgium ):
- Zaventem/Brussels-Zaventem , with two kilometers in the east of the Capital ( located in Flemish Area );
- Charleroi/Brussels-South , with approximately forty-five kilometers in the south-west of the Capital ( located in Walloon region ).
The question of the management of the infrastructures located about the regional territory of BrusselsWhile infrastructures used also by the population of Brussels are managed by other areas (or institutions which emanate from it) when they are in other areas according to a principle of territorial coherence, the reciprocity is it true in the case of the Area of Brussels? The management of the infrastructures located in Area of Brussels shows that it is not always Brussels-Capital which in with the responsibility. Thus, the sections of Brussels of the lines of " transport; De Lijn " and tce are used also by Inhabitants of Brussels, but although they are on the territory of the area-capital they are not managed by it.
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