No two-thirds majority for changes to article 7bis

As had been expected, a proposal to allow the modification of article 7bis of the Belgian Constitution failed to get the backing of two-thirds of MPs, when it was put to the vote before a plenary session of the Chamber of Representative. 

The vote took place in the early hours of Friday morning. On Tuesday the proposal was been passed by a simple majority at the committee stage. However, a two-third was required in the plenary session in order for the constitution to be changed. The Flemish nationals, the Flemish Christian Democrats and the Flemish liberals voted against meaning that article can now not be modified.     

Those backing the proposal to modify article 7bis say that without this it would be impossible to pass a law that would oblige future governments to apply measures to reduce emissions and combat climate change.

The measures in the so-called “climate law” are based on the findings of a group of experts. The greens say that failure to modify the constitution will mean that the introduction of “climate law” legislation will be delayed by another 5 years.  

However, the opponents of modifying article 7bis say that modifications to the constitution are not needed in order for effective climate change measures to be introduced. They add that rather than talking about symbols it would be better to talk about which concrete measures should be taken.