Patricia Popelier (responsible) and Werner Vandenbruwaene (collaborator) - University of Antwerp, Law Faculty, Research group on Government and Law


1. Introduction

The Sixth State Reform heralds a new era of cooperation between the Federal State, the Regions and Communities. Many transfers of competence from the federal level to the regional level can only be completed subject to a cooperation agreement. The sys-tem of competences is based on strict exclusivity, material and territorial, as to optimize autonomy in accordance with the design of Belgium as a dual federation. Nevertheless, the institutional framework is in need of flexibility and cooperation in order to alleviate certain negative consequences of such an exclusive division. An attempt was made to supplement the existing framework for cooperation agreements. As a result, one of the main innovations of the recent round of institutional reform is a new type of legal act: the joint decree. Two reasons explain this innovation. First, cooperation agreements weaken the position of parliament. Second, it was felt that the procedure for the revision or execution of cooperation agreements was too rigid.

The joint decree will be a legal act, approved simultaneously by two or more parlia-ments of the regions and communities with a view on cooperation on matters such as joint public institutions, the administration of competences, or joint development of ini-tiatives (see article 1 of the proposal of Special Act). From the explanations attached to the proposal of the Special Act, the aim is to provide an instrument for cooperation that is more flexible and wider in scope than cooperation agreements. The new article 92bis/1 of the Special Act five paragraphs that set out the purpose of the joint decrees (§1), the legislative procedure via an interparliamentary commission (§2), details on the execution of these joint decrees (§3), the legal relationship with cooperation agreements (§4), and the relationship between administrative acts executing a joint decree and preexisting administrative acts (§5). The Council of State has issued a rather critical opinion on this proposal. We will concentrate in this report on the issues relating to the hierarchy of norms and the sources of law. Particularly, the following questions spring to mind:

a) Are the joint decrees constitutional, notwithstanding the absence of any mention of this category of acts in the constitution?

b) What is the relationship between cooperation agreements and joint decrees?

c) What is the relationship between joint decrees and "ordinary" decrees?

  Read more - Download the Comment 


Pagina 1 di 3

Osservatorio sulle fonti

Rivista telematica registrata presso il Tribunale di Firenze (decreto n. 5626 del 24 dicembre 2007). ISSN 2038-5633.

L’Osservatorio sulle fonti è stato riconosciuto dall’ANVUR come rivista scientifica e collocato in Classe A.


Per qualunque domanda o informazione, puoi utilizzare il nostro form di contatto, oppure scrivici a uno di questi indirizzi email:

Direzione scientifica:
Saggi, note e commenti:

Il nostro staff ti risponderà quanto prima.

© 2017 Registrazione presso il Tribunale di Firenze n. 5626 del 24 dicembre 2007 - ISSN 2038-5633