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Issuing decrees

The Parliament issues decrees. These decrees are regulations with force of law in the German-speaking Community; thus, they are Community laws.

The Parliament of the German-speaking Community is a sovereign decision-maker in Community assigned competences. The decrees are on the same level in the hierarchy as laws of the federal state or decrees of the Walloon Region. Only special laws, the Belgian Constitution and international legal norms are above.

How does a decree come about?

Making a decree doesn’t happen in one day. It is important to observe essential steps in the sequence of parliamentary work. And, of course, Parliament can only legislate within the limits of its powers.

Decree proposal or draft decree

In the case of a decree proposal, the initiative comes from one or more members of parliament. Parliament then decides whether the document is valid, i.e. whether the proposed decrees are within the Community's powers.

In the case of draft decrees, the government takes the initiative. In addition to the proposed text, the government's draft contains an opinion from the Council of State on the preliminary draft. The Council of State's opinion determines whether the text is technically in order and does not conflict with other decrees and legal provisions,

and, above all, does not involve any violation of the competence of the Community.

At the request of Parliament, proposals for decrees may also be submitted to the Council of State for consideration.


Consultation in the committee

The decree proposal or draft decree is transferred to the relevant committee.

The author(s) present(s) the text there. A comprehensive analysis of the individual articles is then required. Members of Parliament or the government may propose amendments. Finally, the committee votes on the final text and draws up a report that will be presented to the plenary.

Adoption by the plenary

The plenary assembly holds a political debate on the proposed document. It is not uncommon for amendments to be tabled during the plenary. A decree text is adopted when it receives a majority of the votes in plenary.

Approvement and publication by the government

A decree can only come into effect if it is approved by the government after it has been adopted in Parliament. After all, the government must ensure that the decree is implemented at a later date.

However, if the government were to refuse to sanction a parliamentary decree, there would be a breach of trust between the legislative and the executive and, almost certainly a government crisis, which could lead to the resignation of the government. The government publishes the decree in the Belgian official Journal.

Now all steps have been taken and the decree usually comes into force on the 10th day after its publication.

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