The Parliament of the German community in Belgium postpones State reforms for 4 months

The German-speaking minority of Belgium puts off debate on controversial Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde constituency until February as Flemish and Walloons fail to reach an agreement on the issue · The decision spares Belgium a new political crisis and irritates Flemish parties.

The Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde (BHV) question, which has confirmed once again the intricate relationship between Flemish and Walloon communities, is back on the political arena as debate on Belgium's territorial reform goes on. But in this occasion the third and smallest federated entity, the German-speaking community, has spare avoided a new crisis. The Parliament of the German-speaking community has approved a "conflict of interests", an institutional mechanism through which an issue can be postponed for 4 months.

Thus the Germans from Belgium temporarily neutralize one of the main disagreement points as regards institutional reform. BHV is a constituency encompassing the city of Brussels together with several Dutch-speaking towns. Flemish parties want to split the constituency so that French-speaking communities within the region of Flanders are compelled to vote for Flemish parties according to electoral law.

German-speakers have opted for the "conflict of interests" solution on the grounds that a consensus is needed on an issue that does not affect their community. It remains to be seen whether 4 months are enough to end the political deadlock, considering that the institutional impasse has been going on since last legislative elections on 10 June 2007.

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See the dossier Peoples and nations today: Flanders for further information.