Brussels regional authorities make the integration process obligatory in the capital

The Brussels Parliament has given the green light to a bill that would make the integration process obligatory for new arrivals in the capital.

The N-VA joined a PS-DeFi-cdH-Open Vld-sp.a-CD&V majority vote to support an adopted bi-communal ordinance project. The MR, who opposed it, abstained. The Greens (Ecolo and Groen), PTB, Vlaams Belang and Mahinur Ozdemir (independent) voted against it.

If an important co-operation agreement with the French Communal Commission and the Flemish Communal authorities is signed, all foreign adults under 65 who have been living in Belgium for less than 3 years, are registered in the Brussels region, and have a visa for over 3 months will have to undergo the process from sometime next year.

The process will include an individual social check, language lessons (French or Dutch) and citizenship lessons. These lessons will include information on how public institutions work, the key values of democracy and social interactions in Belgian society.

Communes will be responsible for making sure new arrivals register with an authorised body that will guide them through this process within 6 months of joining the population register. They must have a certificate showing they have been through the process a year after they register.

New arrivals will receive administrative sanctions if they refuse to start or don’t finish the process. Theses sanctions will become more severe as time goes on, and in the most extreme cases could involve a 2,500 euro fine per tier and another fine of 100 euros every two months.

The French Communal Commission and the Flemish Communal authorities finance the operators that manage this process. Ministers Céline Fremault (cdH) and Pascal Smet (sp.a) have been tasked with negotiating an unbreakable co-operation agreement with these institutions. Mrs Fremault said discussions on the subject have started, and she hopes to have an agreement in place between now and the summer.

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