"No school funding by Greater Brussels Region"

The Greater Brussels Region is not allowed to provide cash to Brussels primary schools. This was decided by the Constitutional Court, which ruled that education is an area that belongs to the powers of the language communities.

The Brussels government wanted to give cash to the local Brussels schools to enable them to attract more pupils in primary education. The aim is to tackle the problem of overcrowding in the capital and the area around it.

However, this was not to the liking of the Flemish government and a number of Flemish organisations which took the matter to court. They argued that education is an area which exclusively belongs to the powers of the different language communities in Belgium - there are three language communities in Belgium (Dutch-speaking, Francophone and German) which are responsible for education and cultural initiatives among others.

The Brussels government stressed that the initiative did not go against the Belgian constitution, because it also aims at reducing unemployment, which is a matter that the regions have to decide about - Belgium has three regions: the Flemish, Brussels and Walloon region.

The Brussels government cited a shortage of places in child care and primary schools for the initiative, "which led to people staying home and being out of work as a result" but was not followed by the Constitutional Court.

In a reaction, the Brussels PM Charles Picqué (Francophone socialist) regrets the fact that "judicial" arguments have received priority at the expense of the needs of the population. 

The Flemish nationalists of N-VA call it "a logical decision".  The Brussels Region can only play a coordinating role in this matter, the N-VA points out. They admit that there is an emerging problem of overcrowding, but according to the Flemish MP Willy Segers this is because the French-speaking community should take up its responsibilities for Brussels.