Belgium the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, the North Sea to the northwest, it has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; the sovereign state is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organisation is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds, it is divided into three autonomous regions: Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, the Brussels-Capital Region. Brussels is the smallest and most densely populated region, as well as the richest region in terms of GDP per capita. Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups or Communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, the French-speaking Community, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons.
The Brussels-Capital Region is bilingual, although French is the dominant language. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments. Belgium was part of an area known as the Low Countries, a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states that included parts of northern France and western Germany, its name is derived after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, the area of Belgium was a prosperous and cosmopolitan centre of commerce and culture. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Belgium served as the battleground between many European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe", a reputation strengthened by both world wars; the country emerged in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution. Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa.
The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fueled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Despite the reforms, tensions between the groups have remained, if not increased. Unemployment in Wallonia is more than double that of Flanders. Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country's capital, Brussels. Belgium is a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, WTO, a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts several of the EU's official seats as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.
Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy. It has high standards of living, quality of life, education, is categorized as "very high" in the Human Development Index, it ranks as one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world. The name "Belgium" is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings. A gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire; the Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the region into Middle and West Francia and therefore into a set of more or less independent fiefdoms which, during the Middle Ages, were vassals either of the King of France or of the Holy Roman Emperor. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 15th centuries.
Emperor Charles V extended the personal union of the Seventeen Provinces in the 1540s, making it far more than a personal union by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 and increased his influence over the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The Eighty Years' War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands; the latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and comprised most of modern Belgium. This was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. Following the campaigns of 1794 in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Low Countries—including territories that were never nominally under Habsburg rule, such as the Prince-Bishopric of Liège—were annexed by the French First Republic, ending Austrian rule in the region; the reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, after the defeat of Napo
Geert Albert Bourgeois is a Belgian politician for the N-VA. Since 25 July 2014, he has been serving as the Minister-President of Flanders, he worked as a lawyer at the Kortrijk bar, served as a member of the Belgian federal parliament for the Volksunie and for the N-VA. Geert Bourgeois’ father, Emiel Bourgeois, was born in Hulste on 10 October 1918, towards the end of the First World War, he went on to work as a primary school teacher. After the Second World War he spent some time in prison, he was subsequently rehabilitated and appointed headmaster at the primary school where he had been teaching. He died in 1998. Emiel Bourgeois married Izegem-born Gaby Vens, with whom he had two daughters. Geert Bourgeois attended secondary school at Saint Joseph’s College in Izegem before he went on to read law at Ghent University from 1970 to 1975; that same year, he married Betty Hoste with. The couple have two sons. Bourgeois was politically engaged from an early age. During his time at secondary school, he became a member of the Catholic Student Action.
In 1966 he set up, along with his brother Kris and his class mate Koen Baert, a Blue Banner group of Father Boucquillon. When the group merged with the VNJ, he left the local chapter, he became involved with the Flemish Nationalist Student Union and the Language Action Committee. At the age of 17, he became the secretary of the local Volksunie branch and the chairman of the Volksunie Youth Wing of Izegem. Bourgeois took part in the municipal council elections for the first time in 1976, he was elected into office with 997 preferential votes. As he still had to comply with his national service obligations, he was unable to take up his seat until 1977. In 1982, he was re-elected, with the Volksunie joining the city council. Bourgeois served as Alderman for Public Works and Country Planning, Town Centre Regeneration, Small Business Owners & Industry and Legal Affairs, he has been re-elected since. After the 1988 elections, he again became Alderman in the municipal council, an office he held until 1994.
The 1994 elections put a different majority coalition in power in Izegem. He continued to sit as a member of the Izegem municipal council until 2018 and did not stand again in the municipal council elections held that same year. From 2013 until 2018, he chaired the Izegem municipal council. From 1977 onwards, Geert Bourgeois ran in all national elections, he joined the national board of the Volksunie party, from 1990 until 1993 served as chairman of the Association of Flemish Office Holders. In 1996, he joined the Volksunie party leadership. In the 1995 elections, he was elected as a member of the federal parliament. In the federal Chamber of Representatives, he focused on legal affairs and matters concerning Belgium’s different Communities. Though he served as a member of the opposition, he managed to get several private member’s bills of his adopted, such as the Protection of Sources Act, which means that reporters are now only required to reveal the identity of their sources in the event of an emergency.
He gained nationwide acclaim for his activities as a member of the Dutroux Committee and the role he played in the Octopus negotiations. In 1999, Bourgeois became leader of the Volksunie political group in the Chamber of Representatives; the following year he was elected general party chairman by the membership of what was the Volksunie, which saw sitting party chairman Patrik Vankrunkelsven ousted. This election sparked a series of conflicts between the party chairman, directly elected by the members, the VU’s party board, appointed by the party leadership; the differences in opinion came to a head at the time of the Lambermont Agreement. Bourgeois was not prepared to back this agreement, in spite of the fact that it had been approved by the Volksunie’s party board; as such, he did not approve it, thus acting contrary to the relevant instructions of the competent bodies within the party. Headed up by Minister Bert Anciaux, the party board got behind the agreement, in response to which Bourgeois stepped down as party chairman.
Around this time, Geert Bourgeois put together the so-called "Oranjehofgroep" along with people such as Frieda Brepoels, Eric Defoort, Ben Weyts and Bart De Wever. The Oranjehofgroup was a group of Flemish nationalist Volksunie members who opposed the direction in which the party was being taken by Anciaux; the group derived its name from a Ghent hospitality business. The antagonisms between Bourgeois' Flemish Nationalist wing which wanted the VU to pursue a conservative, independent Flemish Nationalist direction, the wing helmed by Bert Anciaux, looking to merge the Volksunie with its progressive programme with another political party resulted in the break-up of the VU. In a referendum for the general membership, the Bourgeois group, with just under 50% of the votes cast, came out victorious against the two other groups participating, headed up by Bert Anciaux and Johan Sauwens respectively. Since at least 50% of the votes had to be gained to earn the right to continue under the Volksunie name and his supporters set up a new party in November 2001: the New Flemish Alliance.
From 2001 until 2004, Bourgeois served as the first party chairman of the N-VA which engaged in fierce opposition against the “purple” coalition government. In his book entitle
Flag of Flanders
The flag of Flanders, called the Vlaamse Leeuw or leeuwenvlag, is the flag of the Flemish Community and Flemish Region in Belgium. The flag was adopted by the Cultural Council for the Dutch Cultural Community in 1973, in 1985, by its successor, the Flemish Parliament. In 1990 the coat of arms was adopted as an official symbol; the flag of Flanders is described as a lion rampant armed and langued Gules. Coat of arms of Flanders List of Belgian flags Flag of Belgium Flag of Wallonia Flag of the Brussels-Capital Region
The Flemish Parliament constitutes the legislative power in Flanders, for matters which fall within the competence of Flanders, both as a geographic region and a cultural community of Belgium. The Flemish Parliament approves decrees, which are Flemish laws, applicable to all persons in the Flemish Region, to Flemish institutions in Brussels; the Flemish Parliament meets in the Flemish Parliament building in central Brussels, its members and staff are housed in the House of the Flemish Representatives. From 1830 until 1970 Belgium was a unitary state with a single government and a bicameral national parliament; the laws issued by Parliament applied to all Belgians, government ministers exercised their authority across the length and breadth of the country. Between 1970 and 2001 the Belgian Parliament approved five successive constitutional reforms, they changed Belgium from a unitary into a federal state. Part of this was to give the communities and the regions, their own parliaments. On December 7, 1971, the Cultural Council for the Dutch-speaking Cultural Community held its first meeting followed a parliament for the Flemish Region.
Flanders decided as early as 1980 to merge the Flemish Community with the Flemish Region. As a result, Flanders now has a single parliament and a single government with competence over community as well as over regional matters; this Parliament was called the Vlaamse Raad until it was renamed Vlaams Parlement on June 13, 1995. Over the last thirty years, Flanders has thus developed into a separate state within the federalised Belgium. Members are called "Vlaamse Volksvertegenwoordigers". In English, they are referred to as "Members of the Flemish Parliament", like the MSPs in Scotland and the MEPs in the European Union; the title "Flemish Representative" is used in English. Since 1995 members of the Flemish Parliament have been directly elected. Many voices in the Flemish Movement would like the Flemish Parliament to acquire certain sovereign powers in addition to those concerning language and education. Furthermore, among the broader Flemish population a consensus has emerged that the Flemish Parliament should acquire much larger financial and fiscal autonomy.
The Flemish Parliament enacts decrees, which are Flemish laws, either as a decree of the Flemish Community or as a decree of the Flemish Region. Regional legislation is only applicable to all persons in the Flemish Region whereas community legislation applies to Flemish institutions or services in Brussels. No hierarchy exists between laws and Flemish decrees, as each level is supposed to have defined subject-matter jurisdiction; the basis for the community subject-matter jurisdiction is defined in the Belgian Constitution, but the Special Law on Institutional Reform defines all matters in high detail. They can be summarised as follows: Culture: The Flemish parliament is competent for all cultural matters; this includes protection of the cultural heritage and the media. The public Flemish radio and television broadcasting company is the VRT. Language use: including language use in schools and universities, in the Flemish and local administrations, in relations between employers and employees in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, with exception of the'language facilities' enjoyed in some municipalities.
All ‘matters relating to the person’: youth protection, family policy and childcare, together with policy regarding the handicapped, old age pensioners, equal opportunities and the integration of migrants. Education: from kindergarten to university including scholarships, though the establishment of the period of compulsory education, requirements for awarding degrees, pension schemes for teachers remain at the federal level. Health care: including preventive health care, home care, institutions for mental health care, but excluding health insurance, financing of hospitals and most other competencies that remained federal. Economy and energy policy: includes government support for business, employment policy and fisheries, the distribution of electricity and natural gas, the exploitation of new energy sources and the promotion of responsible use of energy Town and country planning, land development & nature conservation: including regional planning, building permits, housing policy, social housing, urban renewal, preservation of monuments and natural sites, land consolidation and nature conservation Environment and water policy: including the reduction of air and water pollution, noise control, the purification of waste water, the production and distribution of drinking water and waste disposal policy Scientific research: this field is the full responsibility of the regional authorities, except for aerospace and military research.
Public works and transport: includes roads, the regional airports, urban and regional transport. Agriculture: includes the Agricultural Investment Fund, the agricultural education, the development of rural regions, the sale of agricultural and horticultural products and the fisheries
1987 Belgian general election
The 13 December 1987 Belgian general elections was a Belgian election for the Belgian Chamber of Representatives and Belgian Senate. Elections to the nine provincial councils were held; the snap elections were called after the government led by Wilfried Martens fell due to the Voeren issue. Following the election, the King appointed Jean-Luc Dehaene as informateur. 106 days a new government was formed, again led by Wilfried Martens
Liesbeth Homans is a Belgian politician and is affiliated to Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie. She was elected as a member of the Flemish Parliament in 2009 and as a member of the Belgian Senate in 2010, she was chairwoman of the Openbaar centrum voor maatschappelijk welzijn in Antwerp from 2013 until July 2014, when she became a member of the Bourgeois Government as Flemish Minister for Local Government, Poverty Reduction, Civic Integration, Equal Opportunities and Social Economy
The president is a common title for the head of state in most republics. In politics, president is a title given to leaders of republican states; the functions exercised by a president vary according to the form of government. In parliamentary republics, they are limited to those of the head of state, are thus ceremonial. In presidential and semi-presidential republics, the role of the president is more prominent, encompassing the functions of the head of government. In authoritarian regimes, a dictator or leader of a one-party state may be called a president; the title president is derived from the Latin prae- "before" + sedere "to sit." As such, it designated the officer who presides over or "sits before" a gathering and ensures that debate is conducted according to the rules of order, but today it most refers to an executive official in any social organization. Early examples are from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and the founding President of the Royal Society William Brouncker in 1660.
This usage survives today in the title of such offices as "President of the Board of Trade" and "Lord President of the Council" in the United Kingdom, as well as "President of the Senate" in the United States. The officiating priest at certain Anglican religious services, too, is sometimes called the "president" in this sense. However, the most common modern usage is as the title of a head of state in a republic. In pre-revolutionary France, the president of a Parlement evolved into a powerful magistrate, a member of the so-called noblesse de robe, with considerable judicial as well as administrative authority; the name referred to his primary role of presiding over other hearings. In the 17th and 18th centuries, seats in the Parlements, including presidencies, became hereditary, since the holder of the office could ensure that it would pass to an heir by paying the crown a special tax known as the paulette; the post of "first president", could only be held by the King's nominees. The Parlements were abolished by the French Revolution.
In modern France the chief judge of a court is known as its president. The first usage of the word president to denote the highest official in a government was during the Commonwealth of England. After the abolition of the monarchy the English Council of State, whose members were elected by the House of Commons, became the executive government of the Commonwealth; the Council of State was the successor of the Privy Council, headed by the Lord President. However, the Lord President alone was not head of state, because that office was vested in the council as a whole; the modern usage of the term president to designate a single person, the head of state of a republic can be traced directly to the United States Constitution of 1787, which created the office of President of the United States. Previous American governments had included "presidents", but these were presiding officers in the older sense, with no executive authority, it has been suggested that the executive use of the term was borrowed from early American colleges and universities, which were headed by a president.
British universities were headed by an official called the "Chancellor" while the chief administrator held the title of "Vice-Chancellor". But America's first institutions of higher learning didn't resemble a full-sized university so much as one of its constituent colleges. A number of colleges at Cambridge University featured an official called the "president"; the head, for instance, of Magdalene College, Cambridge was called the master and his second the president. The first president of Harvard, Henry Dunster, had been educated at Magdalene; some have speculated that he borrowed the term out of a sense of humility, considering himself only a temporary place-holder. The presiding official of Yale College a "rector", became "president" in 1745. A common style of address for presidents, "Mr/Mrs. President," is borrowed from British Parliamentary tradition, in which the presiding Speaker of the House of Commons is referred to as "Mr/Mrs. Speaker." Coincidentally, this usage resembles the older French custom of referring to the president of a parlement as "Monsieur/Madame le Président", a form of address that in modern France applies to both the President of the Republic and to chief judges.
The Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada is addressed by francophone parliamentarians as "Monsieur/Madame le/la Président". In Pierre Choderlos de Laclos's novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses of 1782, the character identified as Madame la Présidente de Tourvel is the wife of a magistrate in a parlement; the fictional name Tourvel refers not to the parlement in which the magistrate sits, but rather, in imitation of an aristocratic title, to his private estate. Once the United States adopted the title of "president" for its republican head of state, many other nations followed suit. Haiti became the first presidential republic in Latin America when Henri Christophe assumed the title in 1807. All of the American nations that became independent from Spain in the early 1810s and 1820s chose a US-style president as their chief executive; the first European president was the p