Bill to enforce bilingualism among mayors, aldermen and chairpersons of the public centres for social welfare

27 September 2012

Within their ambit, mayors, aldermen and chairpersons of the OCMW (Public Centres for Social Welfare) in the bilingual Brussels-Capital area (19 municipalities) often have to make official decisions in Dutch. In spite of the clear language legislation and language borders that have been in place for decades, bilingualism in the Brussels municipalities nevertheless remains a major problem. Surely now that the federal majority parties and Groen-Ecolo are providing extra funds for bilingualism in Brussels, we will finally see some controls over the matter. A bill by the N-VA provides an initial step towards such controls. This bill should make it possible for a member of the OCMW council or of the municipal council to submit a petition or complaint to the Council of State when it has been established that a mayor or alderman has insufficient knowledge of either of the official languages to fulfil his or her mandate. The Council of State decides on the matter. Bilingualism in Brussels will require more than a few extra cents: it will also need control measures and guarantees introduced in legislation. With this proposal, the N-VA is taking a first step towards making the language legislation enforceable.

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