EUROPAM

European Public Accountability Mechanisms

Belgium

Country score (European Average*)
  • 79(66) Political Financing
  • 35(53) Financial Disclosure
  • 15(37) Conflict of Interest
  • 43(59) Freedom of Information
  • 60(62) Public Procurement

Country Facts

IncomeHigh
GNI per capita (2011 PPP $)41741.94
Population, total11348159.00
Urban population (% of total)97.90
Internet users (per 100 people)86.52
Life expectancy at birth (years)81.29
Mean years of schooling (years)11.4
Global Competitiveness Index5.2
Sources: World Bank, UNDP, WEF.

Political Financing

Belgian financial disclosure legislation applies nearly the same rules to Ministers, Members of Parliament, and Civil Servants. The Law on the requirement to file a list of mandates, functions and occupations and a declaration of assets (1995, last amended 2004) specifies that real estate, movable assets, cash, debts, and income from outside employment must be disclosed by all public officials. In addition, shares owned in a private or public company, as well as any official function in a public body or legal entity must be added to the disclosure statement. This would include managerial or advisory positions in companies. Declarations by Ministers and MPs are made only upon first taking office, while Civil Servants additionally report any changes in disclosure statements to their superior immediately.

No sanctions are stipulated for late-filling, whilst non-filling or making false disclosure leads to a fine between EUR 600-800 for Ministers and MPs. Civil Servants may face the same fines, but additional prison sentences apply for false disclosure. The Implementing Disclosure Law (1995, last amended 2004) specifies the Court of Auditors as depository body responsible for verifying submissions and enforcing disclosure legislation. At the same time, no institution is charged with verifying the accuracy of declarations. Belgium does not make any officials’ declarations public.

(Note: The Head of State is a monarch and thus exempted from disclosure laws).


Quantitative Data

Primary Metric

20122015201620172020Trend
Bans and limits on private income6969787878
Public funding6262626262
Regulations on spending7575757575
Reporting, oversight and sanctions83100100100100

Values lie in range between 0 and 100, higher values implying higher legislation comprehensiveness


Qualitative Data

We are frequently reviewing and refining our data, so in case you notice any mistake in our assessment, feel free to send us an email by clicking the button ()

Bans and limits on private income

Bans on donations from foreign interests

Is there a ban on donations from foreign interests to political parties? No. Absent from legal framework.
Is there a ban on donations from foreign interests to candidates? No. Absent from legal framework.

Bans on corporate donations

Is there a ban on corporate donations to political parties? Yes. Art. 16bis. Only natural persons may make donations to political parties (and their components), lists, candidates and political representatives. (Sections16bis and 16ter of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015, amended 2015)
Is there a ban on corporate donations to candidates? Yes. Art. 16bis. Only natural persons may make donations to political parties (and their components), lists, candidates and political representatives. (Sections16bis and 16ter of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Is there a ban on donations from corporations with government contracts to political parties? Yes. Art. 16bis. Only natural persons may make donations to political parties (and their components), lists, candidates and political representatives. (Sections16bis and 16ter of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Is there a ban on donations from corporations of partial government ownership to political parties? Yes. Art. 16bis. Only natural persons may make donations to political parties (and their components), lists, candidates and political representatives. (Sections16bis and 16ter of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Is there a ban on donations from corporations with government contracts to candidates? Yes. Art. 16bis. Only natural persons may make donations to political parties (and their components), lists, candidates and political representatives. (Sections16bis and 16ter of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Is there a ban on donations from corporations of partial government ownership to candidates? Yes. Art. 16bis. Only natural persons may make donations to political parties (and their components), lists, candidates and political representatives. (Sections16bis and 16ter of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)

Bans on donations from trade unions

Is there a ban on donations from Trade Unions to political parties? Yes. Art. 16bis. Only natural persons may make donations to political parties (and their components), lists, candidates and political representatives. (Sections16bis and 16ter of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Is there a ban on donations from Trade Unions to candidates? Yes. Art. 16bis. Only natural persons may make donations to political parties (and their components), lists, candidates and political representatives. (Sections16bis and 16ter of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)

Bans on anonymous donations

Is there a ban on anonymous donations to political parties? Yes. Without prejudice to the registration obligation as specified at article 6, paragraph 2, and article 116, § 6, subparagraph 2, of the Election Code, the identity of natural persons making donations, in any form, equivalent to 125 euros and more to political parties and their components, lists, candidates and political representatives shall be annually registered by the beneficiaries. (Sections16bis of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Is there a ban on anonymous donations to candidates? Yes. Without prejudice to the registration obligation as specified at article 6, paragraph 2, and article 116, § 6, subparagraph 2, of the Election Code, the identity of natural persons making donations, in any form, equivalent to 125 euros and more to political parties and their components, lists, candidates and political representatives shall be annually registered by the beneficiaries. (Sections16bis of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)

Other bans on donations

Is there a ban on state resources being given to or received by political parties or candidates (excluding regulated public funding)? Yes. Only natural persons may make donations to political parties (and their components), lists, candidates and political representatives. Candidates and political representatives may, however, receive donations from the political party or the list on behalf of which they stand as candidates or exercice their mandate. (Also, componenst may receive donations from their political party and vice-versa.) (Section 16bis, paragraph 34 - 38 of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Is there a ban on any other form of donation? Yes. Companies, association in fact and legal entities may make available funds or products to political parties and their components, lists, candidates and political representatives with the purpose of sponsoring (in exchange for publicity), provided that the market price is respected. Without prejudice to the registration obligation as specified at article 6 paragraph 3 and article 116 § 6 subparagraph 3 of the Election Code, the identity of companies, association in fact and legal entities that sponsor, in any form, 125 euros and more to political parties, their components, lists, candidates and political representatives shall be annually registered by the beneficiaries. [...] (Art.16bis/1 of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)

Donation limits

Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party over a time period (not election specific)? Yes. Political parties and their components, lists, candidates and political representatives may each receive annually, as donations from the same natural person, an amount not exceeding (EUR 500), or its equivalent value. The donor may assign each year a total amount not exceeding (EUR 2,000), or the equivalent value of this amount, for donations to the benefit of political parties and their components, lists, candidates and political representatives. Each donation of 125 euros and more is transmitted electronically through a bank transfer, standing order or bank or credit card. The total amount of donations in cash by a single person may not exceed 125 euros per year. (Section 16bis of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party in relation to an election? No. No mention of specific election limits but limits above apply generally.
Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a candidate? Yes. Political parties and their components, lists, candidates and political representatives may each receive annually, as donations from the same natural person, an amount not exceeding (EUR 500), or its equivalent value. The donor may assign each year a total amount not exceeding (EUR 2,000), or the equivalent value of this amount, for donations to the benefit of political parties and their components, lists, candidates and political representatives.) Each donation of 125 euros and more is transmitted electronically through a bank transfer, standing order or bank or credit card. The total amount of donations in cash by a single person may not exceed 125 euros per year. (Section 16bis of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)

Public funding 

Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties

Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Share of votes in previous election No. Absent from legal framework.
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Representation in elected body Yes. Art. 15. The Chamber of representatives shall grant, for each political party represented within the Chamber of representatives by at least one member of Parliament, a subsidy on behalf of the institution defined at article 22. (Article 15 of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Participation in election No. Absent from legal framework.
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Number of candidates No. Absent from legal framework.
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Share of seats in previous election No. Absent from legal framework.
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Share of votes in next election No. Absent from legal framework.
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Registration as a political party No. Absent from legal framework.
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Share of seats in next election No. Absent from legal framework.
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Number of members No. Absent from legal framework.
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Other Yes. Art. 15bis. In order to benefit from the subsidy specified at article 15, each party shall include in its statutes or programme a provision according to which it commits to observe the political Action it intends to conduct and make its different components and elected representatives observe at least the rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of November 4, 1950 as approved by the law of May 13, 1955 and amended by additional protocols in force in Belgium. (Article 15 bis of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)

Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties

Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties: Proportional to votes received No. Absent from legal framework.
Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties: Equal Yes. 1° a lump sum equivalent to (EUR 125 000); (Article 16 of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties: Proportional to seats received No. Absent from legal framework.
Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties: Flat rate by votes received Yes. 2°an additional sum equivalent to EUR 2,5 per valid vote, being list vote or nominative vote, issued on the candidates lists acknowledged by the political party during the last general elections with a view to fully renewing the Chamber of representatives. This amount is increased by 1,00 per vote, valid for the election of the House of Representatives if in the Senate at least one member belongs to the same political party. (Article 16 of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties: Share of expenses reimbursed No. Absent from legal framework.
Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties: Proportional to candidates fielded No. Absent from legal framework.
Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties: Number of members No. Absent from legal framework.
Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties: Other No. Absent from legal framework.

Earmarking provisions for direct public funding to political parties

Earmarking provisions for direct public funding to political parties: Campaign spending No. Absent from legal framework.
Earmarking provisions for direct public funding to political parties: Ongoing party activities No. Absent from legal framework.
Earmarking provisions for direct public funding to political parties: Intra-party institution No. Absent from legal framework.
Earmarking provisions for direct public funding to political parties: Other Yes. Art. 15bis. In order to benefit from the subsidy specified at article 15, each party shall include in its statutes or programme a provision according to which it commits to observe the political Action it intends to conduct and make its different components and elected representatives observe at least the rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of November 4, 1950 as approved by the law of May 13, 1955 and amended by additional protocols in force in Belgium. (Article 15bis of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)

Allocation criteria for free or subsidized access to media for political parties

Allocation criteria for free or subsidized access to media for political parties: Equal Yes. Dutch speaking media: since 1979 groups represented by 10 members of the nederlandse Culturaad can create an organization entitled to make programmes.‌ Time allocated equally for 50% and proportionally for 50%-‌ (Bruce E.​ Cain, Russell J.​ Dalton, Susan E.​ Scarrow (2003) Democracy transformed?: expanding political opportunities in advanced industrial democracies, Oxford University Press, Oxford)
Allocation criteria for free or subsidized access to media for political parties: Number of candidates No. Absent from legal framework.
Allocation criteria for free or subsidized access to media for political parties: Share of seats Yes. French speaking media [.‌.‌.‌] From 1964 'tribunes' of eight minutes allocated proportionally according to number of seats in Conseil Culurel [.‌.‌.‌] Dutch speaking media: since 1979 groups represented by 10 members of the nederlandse Culturaad can create an organization entitled to make programmes.‌ Time allocated equally for 50% and proportionally for 50%-‌ (Bruce E.​ Cain, Russell J.​ Dalton, Susan E.​ Scarrow (2003) Democracy transformed?: expanding political opportunities in advanced industrial democracies, Oxford University Press, Oxford)
Allocation criteria for free or subsidized access to media for political parties: Share of votes in preceding election No. Absent from legal framework.
Allocation criteria for free or subsidized access to media for political parties: Other No. Absent from legal framework.
Are there provisions for free or subsidized access to media for candidates? No. "French speaking media [.‌.‌.‌] From 1964 'tribunes' of eight minutes allocated proportionally according to number of seats in Conseil Culurel [.‌.‌.‌] Dutch speaking media: since 1979 groups represented by 10 members of the nederlandse Culturaad can create an organization entitled to make programmes.‌ Time allocated equally for 50% and proportionally for 50%-‌" (p.‌ 101) (Bruce E.​ Cain, Russell J.​ Dalton, Susan E.​ Scarrow (2003) Democracy transformed?: expanding political opportunities in advanced industrial democracies, Oxford University Press, Oxford) (Article 16 of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)

Are there provisions for any other form of indirect public funding?

Provisions for any other form of indirect public funding: Premises for campaign meetings No. Absent from legal framework.
Provisions for any other form of indirect public funding: Space for campaign materials No. Absent from legal framework.
Provisions for any other form of indirect public funding: Tax relief No. Absent from legal framework.
Provisions for any other form of indirect public funding: Free or subsidised transport Yes. Art. 130. The following electoral expenses are at public expense: 1° the paper for the ballots the State provides 2° the attendance fees and the travel expenses for the members of the polling stations, under the conditions defined by the King; 3° The documented travel expenses of the voters who on the day of the election do not live anymore in the municipality where they are registered, under the conditions defined by the King; (Art. 130 Electoral Code [Algemeen Kieswetboek], 1894, amended 2014)
Provisions for any other form of indirect public funding: Free or subsidised postage cost No. Absent from legal framework.
Provisions for any other form of indirect public funding: Other Yes. Art. 130. The following electoral expenses are at public expense: 1° the paper for the ballots the State provides 2° the attendance fees and the travel expenses for the members of the polling stations, under the conditions defined by the King; 3° The documented travel expenses of the voters who on the day of the election do not live anymore in the municipality where they are registered, under the conditions defined by the King; 4° the premiums due for accident insurance for the members of the polling stations to cover all sorts of fees caused by accidents happening to members of the polling stations while performing their Activities; the King determines the modalities and the covered risks. (Art. 130 Electoral Code [Algemeen Kieswetboek], 1894, amended 2014)
Is the provision of direct public funding to political parties related to gender equality among candidates? No. Absent from legal framework.
Are there provisions for other financial advantages to encourage gender equality in political parties? No. Absent from legal framework.

Regulations on spending 

Is there a ban on vote buying? Yes. Art 181 "Art. 181. Whoever gives, offers or promises directly or indirectly, even in form of a bet, money, valuables or any other advantage or security in exchange for a vote, or vote abstention or an authorization to vote mentioned in article 147bis, or offering the described advantages depending on the result of the election, shall be punished and sentenced to prison for between 8 days up to one month and fined between 50 and 500 euros or only one of the two punishments." (Article 181 of the Electoral Code [Algemeen Kieswetboek], 1894, amended 2014)
Are there bans on state resources being used in favour or against a political party or candidate? No. Absent from legal framework.
Are there limits on the amount a political party can spend? Yes. Art. 2. (§ 1. The total expenses and financial obligations related to the election propaganda of political parties on federal level, on electoral divisions level and on electoral bodies level, shall not exceed, for the elections of the Chamber of representatives, the value of (EUR 1,000,000). (Article 2 of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015 )
Are there limits on the amount a candidate can spend? Yes. Depends on candidate's position on the nomination list, for example: 1° for each candidate on top of the list up to the number of mandates obtained by his(their) list(s) during the first elections and for any additional candidate to be appointed by the political party (on the presented list of candidates): (EUR 8,700), increased by (EUR 0,035) per voter registered during prior elections for the House of representatives within the election division where the candidate is presented; (Article 2 of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)

Reporting, oversight and sanctions 

Reporting standards

Do political parties have to report regularly on their finances? Yes. Art. 23. § 1. The board of administrators of the institution specified at article 22 draws up a financial report on the annual reports of the political party and its components. The financial report is drawn up each year according to the provisions of the law of July 17, 1975 regarding the companies’ accounting and annual reports and orders of execution. (Article 23 of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Do political parties have to report on their finances in relation to election campaigns? Yes. Art. N. The financial report specified at article 23 includes at least the following documents: 3. The consolidated annual reports of the political party and its components including the consolidated balance sheet, consolidated profit and loss account, with explanatory notes on the consolidated balance sheet and consolidated profit and loss account according to the model set forth by the Commission of control regarding the election expenses and political party’s accounting. (Annex Art N(3) Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Do candidates have to report on their campaign finances? Yes. The Commission of control is bound to consult, under the conditions stipulated by this law, the Audit Office both for the control of election expenses, amended 2015 of political parties and individual candidates and for the control of financial reports drawn up by political parties and their components. (Art. 1(4) Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Is information in reports from political parties and/​or candidates to be made public? Yes. Art. 6. Upon request of a list number, political parties submit a written statement in which they commit to: 3° keep, for two years starting with the elections date, the documentary evidence related to the election expenses and origin of funds. As far as gifts are listed in the statement of the origin of funds, they also commit to record th identity of the natural persons making donations equivalent to 125 euros or more to finance the election expenses, not to disclose it and to transmit it within fourty-five days after the elections date to the Commission of control, who shall check the observance of this obligation according to article 16bis. The written statement, the statement with the election expenses and the statement with the origin of funds, as well as the confirmation of receipt, are drawn up based upon special forms set forth by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and published in due time in the Belgian Official Gazette. The forms of the election expenses statement and the statement with the origin of funds, as wel as the registration forms specified at paragraph 2, are made available to the political parties at a later date, upon request of a list number. (Art 6 Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Must reports from political parties and/​or candidates reveal the identity of donors? Yes. Without prejudice to the registration obligation as specified at article 6, paragraph 2, and article 116, § 6, subparagraph 2, of the Election Code, the identity of natural persons making donations, in any form, equivalent to 125 euros and more to political parties and their components, lists, candidates and political representatives shall be annually registered by the beneficiaries. "while it is clear that all donations in excess of EUR 125 and the identity of the donor must be recorded (in connection with party financing and election campaigns of parties and candidates), there is no provision for donations below this sum to be registered individually and for a receipt to be issued.‌" (p.‌ 19) (GRECO (2009), Evaluation Report on Belgium, Transparency of Political Party Funding (Theme II)) (Sections16bis of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Institutions receiving financial reports from political parties and/​or candidates
Institutions receiving financial reports from political parties and/​or candidates: Electoral Management Board No. Absent from legal framework.
Institutions receiving financial reports from political parties and/​or candidates: Auditing agency No. Absent from legal framework.
Institutions receiving financial reports from political parties and/​or candidates: Ministry Yes. Ministry of Finance (Art 24 and art 27 Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Institutions receiving financial reports from political parties and/​or candidates: Special institution No. Absent from legal framework.
Institutions receiving financial reports from political parties and/​or candidates: Other Yes. President of the Chamber of Representatives (Art 24(1) Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)

Political finance oversight

Is it specified that a particular institution(s) is responsible for examining financial reports and/​or investigating violations?
Institution responsible for examining financial reports and/or investigating violations: Court No. Absent from legal framework.
Institution responsible for examining financial reports and/or investigating violations: Ministry No. Absent from legal framework.
Institution responsible for examining financial reports and/or investigating violations: Auditing agency Yes. The Commission of control formulates its findings and approves the financial report (within 135 days after the term specified at paragraph 1), especially based upon the opinion provided by the Audit Office, as far as no irregularities are found out. The opinion of the Audit Office is attached to the report of the Commission of control. (Art 24(3) Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Institution responsible for examining financial reports and/or investigating violations: Electoral Management Body No. Absent from legal framework.
Institution responsible for examining financial reports and/or investigating violations: Institution for this purpose No. Absent from legal framework.
Institution responsible for examining financial reports and/or investigating violations: Other Yes. Art. 1 (4)°: The Commission of control is a commission composed by 17 members of the Chamber of representatives and 4 experts (2 dutch and 2 french speakers) proposed by the Chambre of representatives. The commission is preside by the the president of the Chambre of representatives. Art.24(3) The Commission of control formulates its findings and approves the financial report (within 135 days after the term specified at paragraph 1), especially based upon the opinion provided by the Audit Office, as far as no irregularities are found out. The opinion of the Audit Office is attached to the report of the Commission of control. (Art 1(4) and 24(3) Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Other institutions with a formal role in political finance oversight
Institutions with a formal role in political finance oversight: Court No. Absent from legal framework.
Institutions with a formal role in political finance oversight: Ministry Yes. In law on financing of political parties it is mentioned that Audit office has a formal role in political finance oversight, while the Ministry of Finance [...] just receive the report. (Art 27 Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Institutions with a formal role in political finance oversight: Auditing agency No. Absent from legal framework.
Institutions with a formal role in political finance oversight: EMB No. Absent from legal framework.
Institutions with a formal role in political finance oversight: Institution for this purpose No. Absent from legal framework.
Institutions with a formal role in political finance oversight: Other Yes. In law on financing of political parties it is mentioned that Audit office has a formal role in political finance oversight, while Ministry of Finance and the two representatives of the chambers just receive the report. (Art 24 Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015)
Sanctions for political finance infractions
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Fines Yes. In case of delay in submitting the financial report, the Commission of control may impose to the political party the following sannctions: a) administrative fine of 1,000 euros per day of delay, with a maximum of 30,000 euros; b) seizure of the subsidy until the day of the receipt of the report (only if the deposit exceeds the deadline set in Article 24, paragraph 1, of more than thirty days). In case of rejection of the financial report, the Commission of control may impose one of the following sanction: a) caution; b) administrative fine between 1,000 and 100,000 euros. In case of recidivism the administrative fine is doubled. ( Art 25 Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015,)
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Loss of public funding Yes.  Art. 25: The failure to submit the financial report to the Commission of control within the period prescribed in Article 24, first paragraph, implicate an automatic suspension of the subsidy to be granted to the institution specified at article 22 until the date of receipt of the report.     Art. 16 bis:The political party that accepts a donation in breach of article 16 bis, loses its right to the subsidy, up to the double of the donation received. The person that in breach of article 16 bis make a donation to a political party, its components, lists, candidates and political representatives is punished with an administrative fine between 26 and 100.000 euros. The person that accept a donation as a candidate or political representative is punished with the same administrative fine. (Art 25 and 16 bis Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015, )
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Penal/Criminal No. Absent from legal framework.
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Forfeiture No. Absent from legal framework.
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Deregistration of party No. Absent from legal framework.
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Loss of elected office No. Absent from legal framework.
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Suspension of political party No. Absent from legal framework.
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Loss of nomination of candidate No. Absent from legal framework.
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Loss of political rights No. Absent from legal framework.
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Other No. Absent from legal framework.

Legislation

Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses, amended 2015 (French)pdf
Electoral Code [Algemeen Kieswetboek], 1894, amended 2014 (English)pdf

*Last update: 2017


Financial Disclosure

Belgian financial disclosure legislation applies nearly the same rules to Ministers, Members of Parliament, and Senior Civil Servants. The Law on the requirement to file a list of mandates, functions and occupations and a declaration of assets (1995, last amended 2004) specifies that real estate, movable assets, cash, debts, and income from outside employment must be disclosed by all public officials. In addition, shares owned in a private or public company, as well as any official function in a public body or legal entity must be added to the disclosure statement. This would include managerial or advisory positions in companies. Declarations by Ministers and MPs are made only upon first taking office, while Civil Servants additionally report any changes in disclosure statements to their superior immediately.

No sanctions are stipulated for late-filling, whilst non-filling or making false disclosure leads to a fine between EUR 600-800 for Ministers and MPs. Senior civil Servants may face the same fines, but additional prison sentences apply for false disclosure. The Implementing Disclosure Law (1995, last amended 2004) specifies the Court of Auditors as depository body responsible for verifying submissions and enforcing disclosure legislation. At the same time, no institution is charged with verifying the accuracy of declarations. Belgium does not make any officials’ declarations public.

(Note: The Head of State is a monarch and thus exempted from disclosure laws.)


Quantitative Data

Primary Metric

20122015201620172020Trend
Disclosure items4267673939
Filing frequency1919191919
Sanctions5050505050
Monitoring and Oversight5656565656
Public access to declarations0002512

Alternative Metric

20122015201620172020Trend
Head of State00000
Ministers4451515454
Members of Parliament4451514444
Civil servants4451515444

Values lie in range between 0 and 100, higher values implying higher legislation comprehensiveness


Qualitative Data

We are frequently reviewing and refining our data, so in case you notice any mistake in our assessment, feel free to send us an email by clicking the button ()

Head of State

Disclosure items

Spouses and children included in disclosure No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Income and Assets
Real estate No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Movable assets No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Cash No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Loans and Debts No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Income from outside employment/assets No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Incompatibilities
Gifts received as a public official No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Private firm ownership and/or stock holdings No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Ownership of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Holding government contracts No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Board member, advisor, or company officer of private firm No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Post-employment No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Simultaneously holding policy-making position and policy-executing position No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Participating in official decision-making processes that affect private interests No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Concurrent employment of family members in public sector No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.

Filing frequency

Filing required upon taking office No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Filing required upon leaving office No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Filing required annually No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Ad hoc filing required upon change in assets or conflicts of interest No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.

Sanctions

Sanctions stipulated for late filing (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Sanctions stipulated for non-filing (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Sanctions stipulated for false disclosure (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.

Monitoring and Oversight

Depository body explicitly identified No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Enforcement body explicitly identified No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Some agency assigned responsibility for verifying submission No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Some agency assigned responsibility for verifying accuracy No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.

Public access to declarations

Public availability No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Timing of information release specified No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Location(s) of access specified No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.
Cost of access specified No. Head of State is a monarch. Legal provisions do not apply.

Ministers

Disclosure items

Spouses and children included in disclosure No. Absent from legal framework. (GRECO Compliance Report 2019 p.5)
Income and Assets
Real estate Yes. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Movable assets Yes. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Cash Yes. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Loans and Debts Yes. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Income from outside employment/assets Yes. Ministers routinely declare each year by 1 April all functions performed during the previous year both in the public sector and on behalf of any natural or legal person, and any body or de facto association established in Belgium or abroad. The declaration specifies, for each function, whether or not it is remunerated (the concept of remuneration is understood with reference to regular income but also attendance allowances or fees in the case of responsibilities in certain types of corporations or public entities). (Article 2 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) )
Incompatibilities
Gifts received as a public official No. Absent from legal framework.
Private firm ownership and/or stock holdings Yes. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Ownership of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) Yes. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Holding government contracts Yes. Ministers routinely declare each year by 1 April all functions performed during the previous year both in the public sector and on behalf of any natural or legal person, and any body or de facto association established in Belgium or abroad. The declaration specifies, for each function, whether or not it is remunerated (the concept of remuneration is understood with reference to regular income but also attendance allowances or fees in the case of responsibilities in certain types of corporations or public entities). (Article 2 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) )
Board member, advisor, or company officer of private firm Yes. Ministers routinely declare each year by 1 April all functions performed during the previous year both in the public sector and on behalf of any natural or legal person, and any body or de facto association established in Belgium or abroad. The declaration specifies, for each function, whether or not it is remunerated (the concept of remuneration is understood with reference to regular income but also attendance allowances or fees in the case of responsibilities in certain types of corporations or public entities). (Article 2 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) )
Post-employment No. Absent from legal framework.
Simultaneously holding policy-making position and policy-executing position No. Absent from legal framework.
Participating in official decision-making processes that affect private interests Yes. Ministers routinely declare each year by 1 April all functions performed during the previous year both in the public sector and on behalf of any natural or legal person, and any body or de facto association established in Belgium or abroad. The declaration specifies, for each function, whether or not it is remunerated (the concept of remuneration is understood with reference to regular income but also attendance allowances or fees in the case of responsibilities in certain types of corporations or public entities). (Article 2 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) )
Concurrent employment of family members in public sector No. Absent from legal framework.

Filing frequency

Filing required upon taking office Yes. Ministers taking up or relinquishing office (or any other new mandate held concurrently) must lodge by 1 April of the following year a statement of their assets indicating the position at 31 December of the year in question. (Article 3 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) )
Filing required upon leaving office No. Absent from legal framework.
Filing required annually No. The Belgian authorities also point out that the declaration or the submission of a new declaration of assets is never conditional upon matters affecting the composition and value of the assets, but simply on factors affecting the individual’s mandates. Lastly, the authorities state that the list of mandates submitted to the Court of Audit must be such as to enable the Court to examine the extent of power exercised by an individual and to identify any possible conflict of interests. Recommandation to update declarations remain also in Compliance Report 2019, p.4 (GRECO Compliance Report 2017 p.3 and GRECO Compliance Report 2019 p.4)
Ad hoc filing required upon change in assets or conflicts of interest No. No obligation to update declarations of assets is prescribed, even if they vary significantly ; the Belgian authorities indicate that the drafting history of the provisions confirms this. (GRECO Evaluation Report 2019 p.21)

Sanctions

Sanctions stipulated for late filing (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. According to the law of 14 October 2018, the Court of Audit is empowered, as of 1 January 2019, to impose financial sanctions on office-holders who have not properly declared their mandates and the related remuneration or have not submitted their declaration of assets. (GRECO Compliance Report 2019 p.7 )
Sanctions stipulated for non-filing (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) Yes. Anyone who fails to lodge a list of mandates or a declaration of assets is liable to a fine of €100-1000. If there is a new occurence of non filing, the fine is tripled and eligibility is prohibited for the next five years (Article 6 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) )
Sanctions stipulated for false disclosure (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) Yes. Anyone who fails to lodge a list of mandates or a declaration of assets is liable to a fine of €100-1000. the penalties for forgery and use of falsified documents committed by civil servants or public officers are applicable: ten to fifteen years’ imprisonment and incidental penalties. (Article 6 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) in conjunction with Article 194 of the Criminal Code (amended 2020) )

Monitoring and Oversight

Depository body explicitly identified Yes. Court of Audit (Article 4 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2009) Article 2 Law of 26 June 2004 enforcing and supplementing the law of 2 May 1995 (amended 2018) )
Enforcement body explicitly identified Yes. Court of Audit is responsible for checking accuracy, it can transmit information to the prosecution service to open investigation in case of fraud suspicion (Art. 7.2 Law of 26 June 2004 enforcing and supplementing the law of 2 May 1995 (amended in 2018))
Some agency assigned responsibility for verifying submission Yes. The monitoring carried out by the Court of Audit is chiefly intended to check whether declarations were submitted by the deadlines and are exhaustive, in view of the broadened scope ratione personae of legislation on mandates, of its legal competence and of the possibilities it has of consulting various external databases.This monitoring mainly takes the form of:  Consulting the data bases to which the Court of Audit has access, like the national registry, public information data banks and Trends Top (which contains current information on Belgian companies);  Direct or indirect contacts (mails, telephone assistance, chatbox within the Regimand application) with the persons and the “informateurs” of the institutions subject to verification, with a view to rectifying obvious errors or oversights in the declarations;  Assistance requests on legal problems related to the declaration duties and their scope. (GRECO Compliance Report 2019 p.7 )
Some agency assigned responsibility for verifying accuracy No. The monitoring carried out by the Court of Audit is chiefly intended to check whether declarations were submitted by the deadlines and are exhaustive, in view of the broadened scope ratione personae of legislation on mandates, of its legal competence and of the possibilities it has of consulting various external databases.This monitoring mainly takes the form of:  Consulting the data bases to which the Court of Audit has access, like the national registry, public information data banks and Trends Top (which contains current information on Belgian companies);  Direct or indirect contacts (mails, telephone assistance, chatbox within the Regimand application) with the persons and the “informateurs” of the institutions subject to verification, with a view to rectifying obvious errors or oversights in the declarations;  Assistance requests on legal problems related to the declaration duties and their scope. (GRECO Compliance Report 2019 p.7 )

Public access to declarations

Public availability Yes. The declarations of mandates and assets should be published on Court of Audit's website. This is not yet implemented. (Article 3 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) GRECO Compliance Report 2017 p. 4 and Greco Compliance Report 2019 p.6)
Timing of information release specified No. Absent from legal framework.
Location(s) of access specified Yes. Court of Audit's website. Not yet implemented. (GRECO Report 2017 p. 4 and Greco Compliance Report 2019)
Cost of access specified No. Absent from legal framework.

Members of Parliament

Disclosure items

Spouses and children included in disclosure No. Absent from legal framework. (GRECO Compliance Report 2019 p.5)
Income and Assets
Real estate Yes. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Movable assets Yes. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Cash Yes. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Loans and Debts Yes. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Income from outside employment/assets Yes. Members of Parliament routinely declare each year by 1 April all functions performed during the previous year both in the public sector and on behalf of any natural or legal person, and any body or de facto association established in Belgium or abroad. The declaration specifies, for each function, whether or not it is remunerated (the concept of remuneration is understood with reference to regular income but also attendance allowances or fees in the case of responsibilities in certain types of corporations or public entities). (Article 2 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) )
Incompatibilities
Gifts received as a public official No. Absent from legal framework. (GRECO Compliance Report 2019 p.3)
Private firm ownership and/or stock holdings Yes. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Ownership of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) Yes. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Holding government contracts Yes. Members of Parliament routinely declare each year by 1 April all functions performed during the previous year both in the public sector and on behalf of any natural or legal person, and any body or de facto association established in Belgium or abroad. The declaration specifies, for each function, whether or not it is remunerated (the concept of remuneration is understood with reference to regular income but also attendance allowances or fees in the case of responsibilities in certain types of corporations or public entities). (Article 2 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) )
Board member, advisor, or company officer of private firm Yes. Members of Parliament routinely declare each year by 1 April all functions performed during the previous year both in the public sector and on behalf of any natural or legal person, and any body or de facto association established in Belgium or abroad. The declaration specifies, for each function, whether or not it is remunerated (the concept of remuneration is understood with reference to regular income but also attendance allowances or fees in the case of responsibilities in certain types of corporations or public entities). (Article 2 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) )
Post-employment No. Absent from legal framework.
Simultaneously holding policy-making position and policy-executing position No. Absent from legal framework.
Participating in official decision-making processes that affect private interests Yes. Members of Parliament routinely declare each year by 1 April all functions performed during the previous year both in the public sector and on behalf of any natural or legal person, and any body or de facto association established in Belgium or abroad. The declaration specifies, for each function, whether or not it is remunerated (the concept of remuneration is understood with reference to regular income but also attendance allowances or fees in the case of responsibilities in certain types of corporations or public entities). (Article 2 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) )
Concurrent employment of family members in public sector No. Absent from legal framework.

Filing frequency

Filing required upon taking office Yes. Members of Parliament taking up or relinquishing office (or any other new mandate held concurrently) must lodge by 1 April of the following year a statement of their assets indicating the position at 31 December of the year in question. (Article 3 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Filing required upon leaving office No. Absent from legal framework.
Filing required annually No. The Belgian authorities also point out that the declaration or the submission of a new declaration of assets is never conditional upon matters affecting the composition and value of the assets, but simply on factors affecting the individual’s mandates. Lastly, the authorities state that the list of mandates submitted to the Court of Audit must be such as to enable the Court to examine the extent of power exercised by an individual and to identify any possible conflict of interests. Recommandation to update declarations remain also in Compliance Report 2019, p.4 (GRECO Compliance Report 2017 p.3 and GRECO Compliance Report 2019 p.4)
Ad hoc filing required upon change in assets or conflicts of interest No. No obligation to update declarations of assets is prescribed, even if they vary significantly ; the Belgian authorities indicate that the drafting history of the provisions confirms this. (GRECO Evaluation Report 2019 p.21)

Sanctions

Sanctions stipulated for late filing (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. According to the law of 14 October 2018, the Court of Audit is empowered, as of 1 January 2019, to impose financial sanctions on office-holders who have not properly declared their mandates and the related remuneration or have not submitted their declaration of assets. (GRECO Compliance Report 2019 p.7 )
Sanctions stipulated for non-filing (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) Yes. Anyone who fails to lodge a list of mandates or a declaration of assets is liable to a fine of €100-1000. If there is a new occurence of non filing, the fine is tripled and eligibility is prohibited for the next five years (Article 6 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) )
Sanctions stipulated for false disclosure (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) Yes. Anyone who fails to lodge a list of mandates or a declaration of assets is liable to a fine of €100-1000. the penalties for forgery and use of falsified documents committed by civil servants or public officers are applicable: ten to fifteen years’ imprisonment and incidental penalties. (Article 6 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) in conjunction with Article 194 of the Criminal Code (amended 2020) )

Monitoring and Oversight

Depository body explicitly identified Yes. Court of Audit (Article 4 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2009) Article 2 Law of 26 June 2004 enforcing and supplementing the law of 2 May 1995 (amended 2009) )
Enforcement body explicitly identified Yes. Court of Audit is responsible for checking accuracy, it can transmit information to the prosecution service to open investigation in case of fraud suspicion (Art. 7.2 Law of 26 June 2004 enforcing and supplementing the law of 2 May 1995 (amended in 2018))
Some agency assigned responsibility for verifying submission Yes. The monitoring carried out by the Court of Audit is chiefly intended to check whether declarations were submitted by the deadlines and are exhaustive, in view of the broadened scope ratione personae of legislation on mandates, of its legal competence and of the possibilities it has of consulting various external databases.This monitoring mainly takes the form of:  Consulting the data bases to which the Court of Audit has access, like the national registry, public information data banks and Trends Top (which contains current information on Belgian companies);  Direct or indirect contacts (mails, telephone assistance, chatbox within the Regimand application) with the persons and the “informateurs” of the institutions subject to verification, with a view to rectifying obvious errors or oversights in the declarations;  Assistance requests on legal problems related to the declaration duties and their scope. (GRECO Compliance Report 2019 p.7 )
Some agency assigned responsibility for verifying accuracy No. The monitoring carried out by the Court of Audit is chiefly intended to check whether declarations were submitted by the deadlines and are exhaustive, in view of the broadened scope ratione personae of legislation on mandates, of its legal competence and of the possibilities it has of consulting various external databases.This monitoring mainly takes the form of:  Consulting the data bases to which the Court of Audit has access, like the national registry, public information data banks and Trends Top (which contains current information on Belgian companies);  Direct or indirect contacts (mails, telephone assistance, chatbox within the Regimand application) with the persons and the “informateurs” of the institutions subject to verification, with a view to rectifying obvious errors or oversights in the declarations;  Assistance requests on legal problems related to the declaration duties and their scope. (GRECO Compliance Report 2019 p.7 )

Public access to declarations

Public availability Partially. The declarations of mandates and assets should be published on Court of Audit's website. This is not yet implemented. (Article 3 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) GRECO Compliance Report 2017 p. 4 and Greco Compliance Report 2019 p.6)
Timing of information release specified No. Absent from legal framework.
Location(s) of access specified Partially. Court of Audit's website. Not yet implemented. (GRECO Report 2017 p. 4 and Greco Compliance Report 2019)
Cost of access specified No. Absent from legal framework.

Civil servants

Disclosure items

Spouses and children included in disclosure No. Absent from legal framework.
Income and Assets
Real estate Yes. The provision applies only to senior civil servants. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 1.3 and Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Movable assets Yes. The provision applies only to senior civil servants. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 1.3 and Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Cash Yes. The provision applies only to senior civil servants. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 1.3 and Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Loans and Debts Yes. The provision applies only to senior civil servants. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 1.3 and Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Income from outside employment/assets Yes. The provision applies only to senior civil servants. Senior civil servants routinely declare each year by 1 April all functions performed during the previous year both in the public sector and on behalf of any natural or legal person, and any body or de facto association established in Belgium or abroad. The declaration specifies, for each function, whether or not it is remunerated (the concept of remuneration is understood with reference to regular income but also attendance allowances or fees in the case of responsibilities in certain types of corporations or public entities). (Article 1.3 and Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Incompatibilities
Gifts received as a public official No. Absent from legal framework.
Private firm ownership and/or stock holdings Yes. The provision applies only to senior civil servants. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 1.3 and Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Ownership of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) Yes. The provision applies only to senior civil servants. The Declaration of assets includes “all credits (such as bank accounts, shares and bonds), all real estate and all moveable property of value (e.g. antiques and works of art)” (Article 1.3 and Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Holding government contracts Yes. The provision applies only to senior civil servants. Senior civil servants routinely declare each year by 1 April all functions performed during the previous year both in the public sector and on behalf of any natural or legal person, and any body or de facto association established in Belgium or abroad. The declaration specifies, for each function, whether or not it is remunerated (the concept of remuneration is understood with reference to regular income but also attendance allowances or fees in the case of responsibilities in certain types of corporations or public entities). (Article 1.3 and Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Board member, advisor, or company officer of private firm Yes. The provision applies only to senior civil servants. Senior civil servants routinely declare each year by 1 April all functions performed during the previous year both in the public sector and on behalf of any natural or legal person, and any body or de facto association established in Belgium or abroad. The declaration specifies, for each function, whether or not it is remunerated (the concept of remuneration is understood with reference to regular income but also attendance allowances or fees in the case of responsibilities in certain types of corporations or public entities). (Article 1.3 and Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Post-employment No. Absent from legal framework.
Simultaneously holding policy-making position and policy-executing position No. Absent from legal framework.
Participating in official decision-making processes that affect private interests Yes. The provision applies only to senior civil servants. Senior civil servants routinely declare each year by 1 April all functions performed during the previous year both in the public sector and on behalf of any natural or legal person, and any body or de facto association established in Belgium or abroad. The declaration specifies, for each function, whether or not it is remunerated (the concept of remuneration is understood with reference to regular income but also attendance allowances or fees in the case of responsibilities in certain types of corporations or public entities). (Article 1.3 and Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Concurrent employment of family members in public sector No. Absent from legal framework.

Filing frequency

Filing required upon taking office Yes. The provision applies only to senior civil servants. Senior civil servants taking up or relinquishing office (or any other new mandate held concurrently) must lodge by 1 April of the following year a statement of their assets indicating the position at 31 December of the year in question. (Article 1.3 and Article 3.1 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018))
Filing required upon leaving office No. Absent from legal framework.
Filing required annually No. The Belgian authorities also point out that the declaration or the submission of a new declaration of assets is never conditional upon matters affecting the composition and value of the assets, but simply on factors affecting the individual’s mandates. Lastly, the authorities state that the list of mandates submitted to the Court of Audit must be such as to enable the Court to examine the extent of power exercised by an individual and to identify any possible conflict of interests. Recommandation to update declarations remain also in Compliance Report 2019, p.4 (GRECO Compliance Report 2017 p.3 and GRECO Compliance Report 2019 p.4)
Ad hoc filing required upon change in assets or conflicts of interest No. No obligation to update declarations of assets is prescribed, even if they vary significantly ; the Belgian authorities indicate that the drafting history of the provisions confirms this. (GRECO Evaluation Report 2019 p.21)

Sanctions

Sanctions stipulated for late filing (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. The Clerks remind every year the members of their assembly about the declaratory obligations stemming from the legislation. Every year on 30 April, where necessary, the Court of Audit of reminder with acknowledgement of receipt to persons whom it considers subject to the requirement but who have not sent in the list of mandates and/or a 20 declaration of assets. If, after examination of the situation of the person concerned, the CC continues to regard him or her as subject to the requirement, that person may appeal to a special monitoring committee in the relevant house of parliament. In the Chamber of Representatives, the Committee on Internal Affairs, General Affairs and the Civil Service has been designated as the monitoring committee. The committee makes a final ruling, without any appeal against its decision being possible. The procedure is organised in such a way that the committee’s decision is delivered before the date of publication of the lists of mandates in the Moniteur belge. The publication thus reflects the committee’s decision. (GRECO Report 2014 p.20 )
Sanctions stipulated for non-filing (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) Yes. Anyone who fails to lodge a list of mandates or a declaration of assets is liable to a fine of €100-1000. If there is a new occurence of non filing, the fine is tripled and eligibility is prohibited for the next five years (Article 1.3 and Article 6 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) )
Sanctions stipulated for false disclosure (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) Yes. Anyone who fails to lodge a list of mandates or a declaration of assets is liable to a fine of €100-1000. the penalties for forgery and use of falsified documents committed by civil servants or public officers are applicable: ten to fifteen years’ imprisonment and incidental penalties. (Article 1.3 and Article 6 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) in conjunction with Article 194 of the Criminal Code (amended 2020) )

Monitoring and Oversight

Depository body explicitly identified Yes. Court of Audit (Article 4 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2009) Article 2 Law of 26 June 2004 enforcing and supplementing the law of 2 May 1995 (amended 2009) )
Enforcement body explicitly identified Yes. Court of Audit is responsible for checking accuracy, it can transmit information to the prosecution service to open investigation in case of fraud suspicion (Art. 7.2 Law of 26 June 2004 enforcing and supplementing the law of 2 May 1995 (amended in 2018))
Some agency assigned responsibility for verifying submission Yes. The monitoring carried out by the Court of Audit is chiefly intended to check whether declarations were submitted by the deadlines and are exhaustive, in view of the broadened scope ratione personae of legislation on mandates, of its legal competence and of the possibilities it has of consulting various external databases.This monitoring mainly takes the form of:  Consulting the data bases to which the Court of Audit has access, like the national registry, public information data banks and Trends Top (which contains current information on Belgian companies);  Direct or indirect contacts (mails, telephone assistance, chatbox within the Regimand application) with the persons and the “informateurs” of the institutions subject to verification, with a view to rectifying obvious errors or oversights in the declarations;  Assistance requests on legal problems related to the declaration duties and their scope. (GRECO Compliance Report 2019 p.7 )
Some agency assigned responsibility for verifying accuracy No. The monitoring carried out by the Court of Audit is chiefly intended to check whether declarations were submitted by the deadlines and are exhaustive, in view of the broadened scope ratione personae of legislation on mandates, of its legal competence and of the possibilities it has of consulting various external databases.This monitoring mainly takes the form of:  Consulting the data bases to which the Court of Audit has access, like the national registry, public information data banks and Trends Top (which contains current information on Belgian companies);  Direct or indirect contacts (mails, telephone assistance, chatbox within the Regimand application) with the persons and the “informateurs” of the institutions subject to verification, with a view to rectifying obvious errors or oversights in the declarations;  Assistance requests on legal problems related to the declaration duties and their scope. (GRECO Compliance Report 2019 p.7 )

Public access to declarations

Public availability Partially. The declarations of mandates and assets should be published on Court of Audit's website. This is not yet implemented. (Article 3 Special Law of 2 May 1995 on the obligation to submit a list of mandates, offices and professions and a declaration of assets (amended 2018) GRECO Compliance Report 2017 p. 4 and Greco Compliance Report 2019 p.6)
Timing of information release specified No. Absent from legal framework.
Location(s) of access specified Partially. Court of Audit's website. Not yet implemented. (GRECO Report 2017 p. 4 and Greco Compliance Report 2019)
Cost of access specified No. Absent from legal framework.

Legislation

Law of 12 March 2009_FRA, amending Law of 2 May of 1995 (French)pdf
Law of 14 October 2018_FRA, amending Law of 2 May of 1995 (French)pdf
Law of 2 May of 1995_FRA (French)pdf
Law of 26 June 2004_FRA (French)pdf
Penal Code of 1867_FRA (French)pdf

*Last update: 2017


Conflict of Interest

Belgium’s conflict of interests laws are rather broad and make few specific requirements for public officials. The Belgian Constitution (1994, last amended 2014) makes a general requirement for Ministers to prevent any conflicts of interests whilst in office. It also forbids MPs from occupying another salaried position. Similarly, the Law on the Senate (2013, last amended 2014) requires that MPs avoid conflicts of interest. In addition, they cannot accept gifts. For Ministers and MPs pursuing other functions is allowed, and no restriction applies to participating in decisions which affect private interests. Conflicts of Interests for Civil Servants are dealt with in the Law on the Budget and Control of administrative and organisational staff (2007). Next to a general clause on preventing conflicts of interests, it restricts Civil Servants from accepting gifts. Additionally, any second paid activities carried out by Civil Servants must be authorized by their superior, and the public sector may grant no unfair advantage to people previously employed as Civil Servants.

Ministers, MPs, and Civil Servants face sanctions ranging from fines over imprisonment to a loss of office if they violate conflict of interests law. This is specified in the Penal Code (1867, last amended 2016). No enforcement body is specified for any officials, and no monitoring body exists for Ministers. All the while, the Senate itself functions as monitoring body for Members of Parliament. Similarly, superiors are always responsible for monitoring their Civil Servants’ adherence to conflict of interests legislation. An Office of Ethics and Professional Conduct grants administrative support to these monitoring bodies.


Quantitative Data

Primary Metric

20122015201620172020Trend
Restrictions2020202020
Sanctions0252500
Monitoring and Oversight2525252525

Alternative Metric

20122015201620172020Trend
Head of State00000
Ministers3141433
Members of Parliament2738382727
Civil servants3041413030

Values lie in range between 0 and 100, higher values implying higher legislation comprehensiveness


Qualitative Data

We are frequently reviewing and refining our data, so in case you notice any mistake in our assessment, feel free to send us an email by clicking the button ()

Head of State

Restrictions

General restriction on conflict of interest No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Accepting gifts No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Private firm ownership and/or stock holdings No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Ownership of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Holding government contracts No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Board member, advisor, or company officer of private firm No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Post-employment No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Simultaneously holding policy-making position and policy-executing position No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Participating in official decision-making processes that affect private interests No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Assisting family or friends in obtaining employment in public sector No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)

Sanctions

Fines are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Administrative sanctions are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Penal sanctions are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)

Monitoring and Oversight

Monitoring body specified (guidance, training, data tracking) No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Enforcement body specified (sanctions, hearings) No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)

Ministers

Restrictions

General restriction on conflict of interest Yes. In the exercise of their respective responsibilities, the federal State, the Communities, the Regions and the Joint Community Commission act with respect for federal loyalty, in order to prevent conflicts of interest. (Article 143.1 Constitution (1994, amended in 2007))
Accepting gifts No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Private firm ownership and/or stock holdings No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Ownership of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Holding government contracts No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Board member, advisor, or company officer of private firm No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Post-employment No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Simultaneously holding policy-making position and policy-executing position No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Participating in official decision-making processes that affect private interests No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Assisting family or friends in obtaining employment in public sector No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Sanctions

Fines are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Administrative sanctions are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Penal sanctions are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Monitoring and Oversight

Monitoring body specified (guidance, training, data tracking) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Enforcement body specified (sanctions, hearings) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Members of Parliament

Restrictions

General restriction on conflict of interest Yes. Both houses of the Belgian parliament can pass a resolution on any matter which they think will pose a conflict of interest or endanger their integrity for parliament as a whole. Such a resolution can be passed with three quarters of all votes and in the follow-up discussed with the other parliamentary house and the President. Members of the upper house are to avoid all conflicts of interest. (Articles 70, 71, 72 Law on the Senate (2013) Article 5 Code of ethics of the members of Senate (2013))
Accepting gifts Yes. Members of the Senate can not accept any financial or material benefit, of any nature whatsoever, in exchange for acts performed in the exercise of their functions, including a gift of heritage value other than symbolic. (Annex, Article 6 Law on the Senate (2013, amended in 2014))
Private firm ownership and/or stock holdings No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Ownership of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Holding government contracts No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Board member, advisor, or company officer of private firm No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Post-employment No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Simultaneously holding policy-making position and policy-executing position Yes. Any member of either House appointed by the Federal Government to any salaried position other than that of minister and who accepts the appointment immediately ceases to sit in Parliament and only takes his seat again after having been re-elected. (Article 51 Constitution (1994, amended in 2007))
Participating in official decision-making processes that affect private interests No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Assisting family or friends in obtaining employment in public sector No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Sanctions

Fines are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Administrative sanctions are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Penal sanctions are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Monitoring and Oversight

Monitoring body specified (guidance, training, data tracking) Yes. The Senate makes decisions, by means of reasoned opinions, on conflicts of interest which may arise between the assemblies (Article 143.2, 143.3 Constitution (1994, amended in 2007))
Enforcement body specified (sanctions, hearings) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Civil servants

Restrictions

General restriction on conflict of interest Yes. Officers ensure not to place or to be placed in a situation of conflict of interest, that is to say a situation in which they themselves or through an intermediary nature of an interest in influencing the impartial and objective performance of their duties or create a reasonable suspicion of such influence. (Article 16 Law on the Budget and Control of administrative and organisational staff (2007))
Accepting gifts Yes. Civil servants may not accept gifts in any context or in the exchange of any activity performed within his administrative duties. Receiving symbolic and low value gifts is allowed. (Article 17 Law on the Budget and Control of administrative and organisational staff (2007))
Private firm ownership and/or stock holdings Yes. Any other paid activities carried out by agents must first be authorised by the superior. Requirements for the authorisation is that the activity is carried out outside of office hours, and that it must be unrelated to the functions performed as civil servant. (Article 19 Law on the Budget and Control of administrative and organisational staff (2007))
Ownership of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Holding government contracts No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Board member, advisor, or company officer of private firm No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Post-employment No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Simultaneously holding policy-making position and policy-executing position No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Participating in official decision-making processes that affect private interests No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Assisting family or friends in obtaining employment in public sector Yes. Agents may not give unfair advantage linked to previous employment of civil servants who are Nolonger performing their functions (Article 21 Law on the Budget and Control of administrative and organisational staff (2007))

Sanctions

Fines are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Administrative sanctions are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Penal sanctions are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Monitoring and Oversight

Monitoring body specified (guidance, training, data tracking) Yes. It is always the superior who receives notifications on possible conflicts of interest and must take appropriate measures to alleviate them. The Office of Ethics and Professional Conduct provides administrative support to ensure agents comply with the ethical framework. (Article 16 Law on the Budget and Control of administrative and organisational staff (2007) Article 36 Law on the Budget and Control of administrative and organisational staff (2007))
Enforcement body specified (sanctions, hearings) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Legislation

Constitution of Belgium of 1994 (French)pdf
Penal Code of 1867 (French)pdf
Law Regulating the Criminal Liability of Ministers of 1998 (French)pdf
Code of Ethics for Members of the House of Representatives (French)pdf
Rules on the Belgian House of Representatives 2020 (French)pdf
Rules on the Belgian Senate 2020 and Code of Ethics for Members of the Senate (Annex) (French)pdf
Code of Ethics of Public Officials of 2014 (French)pdf

*Last update: 2017


Freedom of Information

The right to information is affirmed in the Belgian Constitution, and the information access regime is governed by the Right of Access to Administrative Documents held by Federal Public Authorities (1994, amended 2010). The FOI law applies only to administrative functions and documents in the executive, legislative, and judicial branch.

Specific exemptions to disclosure are outlined in the aforementioned FOI law, the Law relating to classification and to authorizations of security (1998, as amended 2016), and the Law on the protection of privacy in relation to the processing of personal data (1992, last amended 2008). There is a public interest test whereby exemptions to disclosure may be overridden in cases where the public interest outweighs the prohibition on disclosure.

Requesters may file an internal appeal with public bodies, and external appeals with the courts. The law also establishes the possibility of asking the Commission on Access to and Reuse of Official Documents for an opinion on the case. However, any opinion issued by the Commission is not binding.

There are no sanctions specified in the law for violations of FOI provisions, nor are there any enforcement or oversight bodies tasked with managing implementation.


Quantitative Data

Primary Metric

20122015201620172020Trend
Scope and Coverage7676767676
Information access and release5454545454
Exceptions and Overrides8383838383
Sanctions for non-compliance00000
Monitoring and Oversight00000

Values lie in range between 0 and 100, higher values implying higher legislation comprehensiveness


Qualitative Data

We are frequently reviewing and refining our data, so in case you notice any mistake in our assessment, feel free to send us an email by clicking the button ()

Scope and Coverage

Scope of disclosure

Existence of legal right to access Yes. Everyone has the right to consult any administrative document and to have a copy made, except in the cases and conditions stipulated by the laws, decrees, or rulings referred to in Article 134. (Article 32 of the Constitution of Belgium of 1994, amended 2019)
"Information" or "Documents" is defined Yes. Administrative document: any information, in any form whatsoever, from which an administrative authority possesses (Article 1(b)(2) Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010)
Proactive disclosure is specified No. Absent from legal framework

Coverage of public and private sectors

Executive branch Yes. The law applies to all federal administrative authorities including the archives, with the exception of two of them which are covered by the law on archives. (Article 1(b)(1) and Article 11 Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010)
Legislative branch Yes. The law only applies to administrative bodies, which would include the administrative functions of the legistlature. (Article 1(b)(1) Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010)
Judicial branch Yes. The law only applies to the administrative functions of the judicial power. The Belgian Constitution, however, specifically proposes a theme of openness in respect of the judiciary, allowing court hearings to be open, unless public access should jeopardize morals or order. (Article 1(b)(1) Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010 Article 148, Constitution of Belgium of 1994, amended 2019)
Other public bodies No. Absent from legal framework ( )
Private sector No. Absent from legal framework

Access to specific documents (subject to reactive and/or proactive disclosure)

Draft legal instruments Yes. Proactive disclosure is not required. However the law defines the scope of the law as all administrative information held by the body, in whatever format. In practice draft laws are published on the websites of both chambers of parliament. (Article 1(b)(2) Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010)
Enacted legal instruments Yes. The Constitution requires all new laws to be published. Since 1845, any new law or changes to a law can only take effect once published in the Belgian Official Gazette (Moniteur Belge). The FOI law also requires all administrative information held by a public body to be disclosed. (Article 190, Constitution of Belgium of 1994, amended 2019 Article 1, Law of 24 December 1865 modifying Article 1 of Law of 28 February 1845 Article 1(b)(2) Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010)
Annual budgets Yes. The Constitution requires the House of Representatives to set and publish in a law the annual national level budget. All state receipts and expenditures must be included in the budget and accounts. Regions can set their own budgets but the Constitution requires the to disclose their budgets and accounts. (Article 174 and Article 162(5), Constitution of Belgium of 1994, amended 2019 Annual Budget Laws and updates at national and regional level)
Annual chart of accounts (actual expenditures) Yes. The Constitution requires the House of Representatives to set and publish in a law the annual national level budget. All state receipts and expenditures must be included in the budget and accounts. Regions can set their own budgets but the Constitution requires them to disclose their budgets and accounts. The FOI law also requires all administrative information held by a public body to be disclosed. (Article 174 and Article 162(5) Constitution of Belgium of 1994, amended 2019 Annual Budget Laws and updates at national and regional level Article 1(b)(2) Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010)
Annual reports of public entities and programs Yes. The law defines the scope of the law as all administrative information held by the body, in whatever format. Proactive disclosure is not specified by law however. (Article 1(b)(2) Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010)

Information access and release

Procedural access

Universal access (agencies, citizens and non-citizens) Yes. The law provides that everyone can consult and have a copy of an administrative document. (Article 4 Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010 Article 32 Constitution of Belgium of 1994, amended 2019)
Type of request is specified (written, electronic, oral) Yes. Applications must be in writing. (Article 5 Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010)
Assistance to requesters must be provided by law (includes barriers due to language differences, illiteracy, complexity of requests, etc.) No. Absent from legal framework
Cost of access is specified (free, request fees, photocopying costs, other administrative costs) Yes. The law provides that only direct costs can be charged. The cost of copies is set by the King via a Royal Decree. (Article 3 and Article 12 Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010 Article 2, Royal Decree on the cost of accessing copies of public information 2007)

Deadlines for release of information

20-day response deadline No. The deadline is 30 days. (Article 6(5) Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010)
Agency granted right to extend response time Yes. The agency may extend the response time by 15 days. (Article 6(5) Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010)
Maximum total response time of no more than 40 days No. The total response time with the extension period is 45 days. There is no requirement to reply; if there is no response within 45 days the application is deemed to have been rejected. (Article 6(5) Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010)

Exceptions and Overrides

Exemptions to disclosure

Existence of secrecy/states secrets law Yes. Includes regulations on the classification and types of secret documents and informations. Classifications are determined by the King. (Law relating to classification and to authorizations of security, 1998, amended 2018)
Existence of personal privacy/data law Yes. Includes regulations on the protection of personal privacy and data protection. The Constitution enshrines the right to respect for private and family life. (Act of 30 July 2018 on the Protection of Natural Persons with Regard to the Processing of Personal Data (as amended 2019) Article 22 Constitution of Belgium of 1994, amended 2019)
Specific exemptions to disclosure Yes. Exempted information includes information on public safety, people’s fundamental rights and freedoms, international relations, public order, national defence, internal and external security of the state, criminal investigations, scientific and economic interests of the country, trade secrets, protection of sources of confidential information, personal information, a secret established by law, confidential discussions, incomplete information, confidential opinions, abusive information. (Article 12 Law relating to classification and to authorizations of security (1998, as amended 2016) Article 6 Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010 Act of 30 July 2018 on the Protection of Natural Persons with Regard to the Processing of Personal Data (as amended 2019))
Public Interest test: Specified exemptions to disclosure may be overridden in cases where disclosure of information benefits the public interest.

Appeals

Appeals allowed within public entities Yes. Where an authority has refused to disclose information, the applicant can request that it reconsider it's action. They authority has 15 days to answer. If they don't answer, the "administrative silence" is interpreted as a refusal. (Article 8(2) Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010)
Independent, non-judicial appeals mechanism, e.g., information commissioner. Does not include Ombudsman unless appeals decisions are binding. No. The law establishes the possibility of asking the Commission on Access to and Reuse of Official Documents for an opinion on the case at the same time as appealing to the authority to reconsider (internal appeal). Any opinion issued by the Commission is not binding. (Article 8 Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010)
Judicial appeals mechanism Yes. An appeal can be lodged with the Council of State under the Royal Decree of 1973 (Article 8 Law on Administration Publicity, 1994, amended 2010)

Sanctions for non-compliance

Administrative sanctions are specified for violations of disclosure requirements No. Absent from legal framework
Fines are specified for violations of disclosure requirements No. Absent from legal framework
Criminal sanctions are specified for violations of disclosure requirements No. Absent from legal framework

Monitoring and Oversight

Information officers must be appointed in public agencies No. Absent from legal framework ( )
Public body that is responsible for applying sanctions No. Absent from legal framework
Public body that is responsible for public outreach (raising public awareness) No. Absent from legal framework
Nodal agency for RTI (implementation support/compliance within public sector). Does not include Ombudsman. No. Absent from legal framework ( )
Ombudsman involvement in implementation is specified by law No. Absent from legal framework
Reporting of data and/or implementation is required No. Absent from legal framework

Legislation

Constitution of Belgium of 1994_FRA (French)pdf
Law of 11 April 1994 on Administration Publicity_FRA (French)pdf
Royal Decree of 17 August 2007 on the Cost of Accessing Copies of Public Information_FRA (French)pdf
Law of 11 December 1998 on the Classification and Authorizations of Security_FRA (French)pdf
Law of 30 July 2018 on the Protection and Processing of Personal Data_FRA (French)pdf

*Last update: 2017


Public Procurement

The Belgian public procurement system is regulated primarily by the Act of 15 June 2006 and several further Royal Decrees. There is no separate public procurement body.

The lowest minimum threshold for conducting a public procurement tender is:

EUR 30,000 for goods, works and services

The minimum number of bidders is 5 for restricted procedures and 3 for negotiated procedures and competitive dialogue. The minimum submission period is 36 days for open procedures, 15 days for restricted procedures and 15for negotiated procedures from dispatch date. The final beneficial owners do not have to be disclosed when placing a bid.

There is a possibility for preferential treatment for SMEs in case of below EU threshold tenders, and environmental considerations can be included in the award criteria. Furthermore, there are several options for bid exclusion: participation in organized crime, corruption, fraud and money laundering.

In the bid evaluation phase, there are conflict of interest restrictions on the composition of the evaluation committee and provisions on the independence of  the contracting authority.

There is no regulation on a payable fee in case of an arbitration procedure and no regulation on whether decisions have to be publicly released or not.

No sanctions are stipulated for late-filling, whilst non-filling or making false disclosure leads to a fine between EUR 600-800 for Ministers and MPs. Civil Servants may face the same fines, but additional prison sentences apply for false disclosure. The Implementing Disclosure Law (1995, last amended 2004) specifies the Court of Auditors as depository body responsible for verifying submissions and enforcing disclosure legislation. At the same time, no institution is charged with verifying the accuracy of declarations. Belgium does not make any officials’ declarations public.

(Note: The Head of State is a monarch and thus exempted from disclosure laws).


Quantitative Data

Primary Metric

20122015201620172020Trend
Scope858593
Information availability82828232
Evaluation81819481
Open competition64646475
Institutional arrangements29292921

Values lie in range between 0 and 100, higher values implying higher legislation comprehensiveness


Qualitative Data

We are frequently reviewing and refining our data, so in case you notice any mistake in our assessment, feel free to send us an email by clicking the button ()

Scope

Threshold - lowest PP

What is the minimum contract value above which the public procurement law is applied? (Product type GOODS) EUR 30000. Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, which regulates Law of 17 June 2016 on public procurement, applies to contracts for which the estimated amount is over EUR 30,000. This minimum applies to goods, services, works, utilities and defence. (Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Art. 5 Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Art. 92 and 162)
What is the minimum contract value above which the public procurement law is applied? (Product type WORKS) EUR 30000. Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, which regulates Law of 17 June 2016 on public procurement, applies to contracts for which the estimated amount is over EUR 30,000. This minimum applies to goods, services, works, utilities and defence. (Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Art. 5 Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Art. 92 and 162)
What is the minimum contract value above which the public procurement law is applied? (Product type SERVICES) EUR 30000. Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, which regulates Law of 17 June 2016 on public procurement, applies to contracts for which the estimated amount is over EUR 30,000. This minimum applies to goods, services, works, utilities and defence. (Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Art. 5 Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Art. 92 and 162)

Threshold - by PP type

What are the minimum application thresholds for the procurement type? (Entity: PUBLIC SECTOR) EUR 30000. While the threshold set by Royal Decree of 14 January 2013 of EUR 30,000 is still the minimum applicable, Royal Decree of 18 April 2017 on classic sectors of procurement expressly mentions european thresholds: EUR 5,350,000 for works, EUR 139,000 for goods and services tendered by federal bodies (applicable to the defence sector), EUR 214,000 for goods and services tendered by other bodies (applicable to the defence sector) and EUR 750,000 for specific services. In practice, rather than ensuring procurement procedures apply, these thresholds refer to adequate publicity (Official Gazette, OJEU, etc) of the tender on national and/or EU level - each threshold attracts different rules on publicity. (Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Art. 5 Royal Decree of 18 April 2017, as amended in 2019, Art. 11)
What are the minimum application thresholds for the procurement type? (Entity: UTILITIES) EUR 30000. While the threshold set by Royal Decree of 14 January 2013 of EUR 30,000 is still the minimum applicable, Royal Decree of 18 April 2017 on classic sectors of procurement expressly mentions european thresholds: EUR 5,350,000 for works, EUR 139,000 for goods and services tendered by federal bodies (applicable to the defence sector), EUR 214,000 for goods and services tendered by other bodies (applicable to the defence sector) and EUR 750,000 for specific services. In practice, rather than ensuring procurement procedures apply, these thresholds refer to adequate publicity (Official Gazette, OJEU, etc) of the tender on national and/or EU level - each threshold attracts different rules on publicity. (Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Art. 5 Royal Decree of 18 April 2017, as amended in 2019, Art. 11)
What are the minimum application thresholds for the procurement type? (Entity: DEFENCE) EUR 30000. While the threshold set by Royal Decree of 14 January 2013 of EUR 30,000 is still the minimum applicable, Royal Decree of 23 January 2012 mentions european thresholds: EUR 5,350,000 for works, EUR 428,000 for goods and services. (Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Art. 5 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Arts. 4 and 33 Law of 13 August 2011, as amended in 2019, Art. 11/1)

Threshold - by product type

What are the minimum application thresholds for the procurement type? (Product type GOODS) EUR 30000. Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, which regulates Law of 17 June 2016 on public procurement, applies to contracts for which the estimated amount is over EUR 30,000. This minimum applies to goods, services, works, utilities and defence. (Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Art. 5 Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 92 and 162)
What are the minimum application thresholds for the procurement type? (Product type WORKS) EUR 30000. Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, which regulates Law of 17 June 2016 on public procurement, applies to contracts for which the estimated amount is over EUR 30,000. This minimum applies to goods, services, works, utilities and defence. (Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Art. 5 Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 92 and 162)
What are the minimum application thresholds for the procurement type? (Product type SERVICES) EUR 30000. Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, which regulates Law of 17 June 2016 on public procurement, applies to contracts for which the estimated amount is over EUR 30,000. This minimum applies to goods, services, works, utilities and defence. (Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Art. 5 Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 92 and 162)

Information availability

Publishing and record keeping

Is there a requirement that tender documents must published in full? Yes. The contracting authority shall provide by electronic means free, unrestricted, direct and full access to tender documents. The tender notice or invitation shall specify the internet address from which tender documents can be retrieved. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 64 and 145)
Are any of these documents published online at a central place? Yes. https://enot.publicprocurement.be/enot-war/ https://eten.publicprocurement.be/etendering/home.do https://www.publicprocurement.be/fr (Royal Decree of 18 April 2017, as amended in 2019, Arts. 8, 14, 15, 20 and 21 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Art. 30)
Is it mandatory to keep all of these records? -Public notices of bidding opportunities, -Bidding documents and addenda, -Bid opening records, -Bid evaluation reports, -Formal appeals by bidders and outcomes, -Final signed contract documents and addenda and amendments, -Claims and dispute resolutions, -Final payments, -Disbursement data (as required by the country’s financial management system) Yes. The contracting authority keeps a record of the progress of all procurement procedures, whether or not they are conducted by electronic means. To this end, they ensure that sufficient documents are kept to justify the decisions taken at all stages of the award procedure, in particular documents concerning exchanges with economic operators and internal deliberations, the preparation of contract documents, dialogue or negotiation where appropriate, selection and award of the contract. These documents are kept at least for a period of ten years from the date of conclusion of the contract and in any event until the expiry of the warranty period, without prejudice to the provisions of laws, decrees and ordinances relating to archives. This paragraph is applicable for each contract or framework agreement which falls under the scope of Title 2 or 3, as well as for contracts for which the estimated value is lower than the thresholds set for European advertising. This paragraph does not, however, apply to small-value public contracts referred to in Chapter 7 of Title 2 or Chapter 7 of Title 3. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Art. 164 §4)
Are contracts awarded within a framework agreement published (ie mini contracts)? No. There is a general requirement to publish a contract award notice with tender results in case of contracts the estimated amount of which surpasses European thresholds. However, the Law on Procurement specifically stipulates that the contracting authority is not obliged to send a notice concerning the results of the award procedure for each contract based on a framework agreement. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 62 and 143 §2)

Sub-contracting

Is it mandatory to publish information on subcontractors (ie names) in some cases? No. There is no general duty to publish information on subcontractors in all contracts covered by Royal Decree of 14 January 2013 and Law of 17 June 2016. In case of a contract for the procurement of works, the contracting authority must mention in the tender documents whether there is direct action of subcontractors, in accordance with article 1798 of the Civil Code. In case of a contract in a sector sensitive to fraud, the successful bidder must send to the contracting authority the following information on subcontractors: name, contact details and legal representatives of all subcontractors participating in the works or the provision of services. This is regardless of the extent to which they participate in the subcontracting chain and regardless of their place in this chain. This information must be included in the Single European Market Document (DUME, in french) for contracts the estimated amount of which is equal to or greater than the European thresholds, in accordance with the provisions of Commission Regulation 2016/7 of 5 January 2016. Subject to exceptions, information on subcontractors must also be published in connection to procurement in the defence sector. (Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Arts. 12 §4 and 12/1 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Art. 140)
If yes, what is the threshold for publication (i.e. the % of total contract value subcontracted)? For example, if the threshold is 75%, and you have subcontracted out only 40% of your contract, no disclosure is required. Consultant will insert 75% in the short answer column. General. Information on subcontractors must be included in the SEMD (DUME) regardless of the extent to which they participate in the subcontracting chain and regardless of their place in this chain. No threshold is specified for the procurement of works. ( Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Arts. 12 §4 and 12/1 )

Evaluation

Preferential treatment

Is there a ban on mentioning specific companies or brands in tender specification/call for tender? Yes. Technical specifications may not refer to a specific manufacture or origin or to a particular process which characterizes the products or services provided by a specific economic operator, nor to refer to a trademark, a patent or a specific type, origin or production which would have the effect of favoring or eliminating certain companies or certain products. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Art. 53 §4 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Art. 8)
Is there a preferential treatment for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs)? No. Although there is no direct provision about SMEs, the Law of 17 June 2016 contemplates that a contact point is responsible for drawing up, every three years, a report for the European Commission including the results of spot checks of the application of the public procurement rules and information on the level of participation of SMEs in procurement procedures. This only applies to procedures/contracts that exceed European thresholds. The Belgian government has, through its "Service public fédéral Economie, P.M.E., Classes moyennes et Energies", enacted a Charter in 2018 comprising of 13 principles that, if observed, should help increase the participation of SMEs in tenders (can be found at: https://www.publicprocurement.be/fr/documents/charte-acces-des-pme-aux-marches-publics). To this end, the strategic consultation network for federal purchasing (CSAF), as set up by the Royal Decree on centralized federal public contracts within the framework of the federal purchasing policy, will implement a general policy concerning SME participation rate in public procurement, including targets and indicators. Monitoring will be carried out within the framework of the CSAF network. The policy has not been made public yet. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Art. 163, §2, §3 and §4)
Is there a preferential treatment for local/national companies? (companies from other EU MS are considered foreign companies) No. Contracting authorities must act in accordance with the principles of non-discrimination and equality of treatment of economic operators and act in a transparent and proportionate manner.Furthermore, they must take the necessary measures to effectively prevent, detect and correct conflicts of interest arising in connection with the award and performance of the contract in order to avoid any distortion of competition, ensure the equal treatment of all economic operators and the transparency of the award procedure. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 4 and 6 §1 Law of 13 August 2011, as amended in 2019, Art. 5)
Is there a specific set of rules for green/sustainable procurement? Yes. Environmental criteria can be included in the technical specifications, but these must be clearly defined so as to allow the bidders to determine the object of the contract and the contracting authorities to award the contract. Where contracting authorities lay down environmental characteristics in terms of performance or functional requirements, they may use the detailed specifications, or, if necessary, parts thereof, as defined by European or (multi-) national eco‑labels, or by and any other eco-label, provided that those specifications are appropriate to define the characteristics of the supplies or services that are the object of the contract,the requirements for the label are drawn up on the basis of scientific information,the eco-labels are adopted using a procedure in which all stakeholders, such as government bodies, consumers, manufacturers, distributors and environmental organisations can participate, and they are accessible to all interested parties. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 7, 53 §3 1ş, 66 §1, 69 1ş, 77, 81 §2 3ş, 82, 87, 147 §5, 152, 157 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Arts. 15 and 83)

Bid evaluation

Are there restrictions on allowable grounds for tenderer exclusion? Yes. Allowable grounds for compulsory bidder exclusion are: (i) final decisions delivered by a competent court (res judicata) in matters concerning: participation in a criminal organisation; corruption; fraud; terrorism-related offenses or crimes; money laundering or financing of terrorist activities; child labor and other forms of human trafficking; employment of third country nationals who do not have the necessary immigration documentation. This exclusion is only applicable for a period of 5 years, counted from the date of the delivery of the decision or from the end of the infraction concerning third country nationals' immigration status. The contracting authority is only obliged to previously verify the absence of compulsory exclusion grounds for tenders whose value falls above EU thresholds and for sectors deemed more susceptible to fraud. These rules are applicable to subcontractors. The contracting authority may, exceptionally and for imperative reasons of general interest, authorise a derogation from compulsory exclusion; (ii) existance of debt in relation to taxes or social contributions. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 67, 68, 69, 75, 86 1ş, 89 §3 §5, 151 §1 and 156 §1 Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Art. 12/2 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Art. 63)
Are some bids automatically excluded? e.g., lowest/highest price; unusually low price, etc. No. Contracting authorities shall, before they reject abnormally high or low tenders, request further information from bidders. If, after further examination, the contracting authority deems the information insufficient to explain the low offer, they shall reject it. Low offers due to non-compliance with environmental and social obligations should also be discarded. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Art. 153 and 164 §1 3ş Royal Decree of 18 April 2017, as amended in 2019, Art. 36 §3 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Arts. 102 §3 and 104)
Is scoring criteria published? Yes. Selection criteria must be indicated in the contract notice or in another tender document. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Art. 66, 71, 81 §3 Law of 13 August 2011, as amended in 2019, Art. 24)
Are decisions always made by a committee? No. No committee is specified in legilation. Within the limits of their powers, each minister is competent to take decisions relating to the award and execution of contracts of the federal authority and of bodies under their hierarchical authority. For entities governed by public law other than federal authorities, the powers relating to the award and execution of contracts are exercised by the competent authorities and bodies by virtue of the provisions of a law, a decree, an ordinance, or a regulatory or statutory provision governing them. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 66, 147 and 169)
Are there regulations on evaluation committee composition to prevent conflict of interest? Yes. It is prohibited for any civil servant, public officer or any other person linked to an adjudicator in any way, including the provider of ancillary purchasing activities acting on behalf of the adjudicator, to intervene in any way, directly or indirectly, in the award or performance of a public contract, as soon as they may find themselves, either personally or through an intermediary, in a situation of conflict of interest with a candidate or bidder. However, in exceptional circumstances, this prohibition does not apply where it would prevent the adjudicator from meeting their needs. Those who find themselves in a situation of conflict of interest must withdraw from taking part in the tender and inform the adjudicator in writing and without delay. The existence of a conflict of interest is presumed if: (i) there is kinship or marriage, in direct line up to the third degree and, in collateral line, up to the fourth degree, or in the event of legal cohabitation, between the civil servant, the public officer or the person linked to the adjudicator, and one of the candidates or bidders or any other natural person who exercises on behalf of one of these a power of representation, decision or control; (ii) the civil servant, the public officer or the person linked to the adjudicator, is, himself or through an intermediary, owner, co-owner or active partner of one of the candidate or bidder companies or exercises, in law or in fact, himself or, where appropriate, through an intermediary, a power of representation, decision or control. Furthermore, when the civil servant, the public officer or the natural or legal person linked to the adjudicator, holds, either themselves or through an intermediary, one or more shares or shares representing at least five percent of the share capital of one of the bidder companies, they have the obligation to inform the adjudicator. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Art. 6 Royal Decree of 18 April 2017, as amended in 2019, Art. 51 Law of 13 August 2011, as amended in 2019, Art. 9 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Arts. 23 and 24)
Is some part of evaluation committee mandatorily independent of contracting authority? No. In case of design contests ("Concours") and competition of works ("Concours de travaux"), the jury is composed of at least five members, including at least one chosen from persons outside the contracting authority. The jury members are also independent of participants in the contest. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Art. 2, 31° Royal Decree of 18 April 2017, as amended in 2019, Art. 119 §1 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Art. 139 §2, 1°)
Are scoring results publicly available? No. Above EU thresholds, an award notice must be published ("avis d'attribution de marché"). However, Royal Decree of 18 April 2017 does not specify whether scoring results are included in such notice. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 62 and 143 Royal Decree of 18 April 2017, as amended in 2019, Art. 17)
Does the law specify under which conditions the tender can be cancelled? Yes. The tender can be cancelled if: 1. there is inaction by the winning company after the award; 2. the awarding entity is comprised of a single physical person who deceases, 3. the awarding entity is in any of the situations listed in the Royal Decree; 4. the contracting authority has not set a date for the start of the works in due time. These conditions apply to framework agreements and to all subsequent contracts within said agreement (mini-contracts). (Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Arts. 47 §2 1ş, 61, 62, 61/1, 76 §3)

Open competition

CFT publication

Does the law specify the location for publicizing open calls for tenders? Yes. Bulletin des Adjudications and the Official Journal of the European Union for tenders over the relevant EU thresholds (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 139, 140, 142 and 160 Royal Decree of 18 April 2017, as amended in 2019, Art. 8 Law of 13 August 2011, as amended in 2019, Art. 19 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Art. 30 Royal Decree of 18 June 2017, as amended in 2019, Art. 8)
Does the law specify the location for publicizing restricted calls for tenders? Yes. Bulletin des Adjudications and the Official Journal of the European Union for tenders over the relevant EU thresholds (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 139, 140, 141, 142 and 160 Royal Decree of 18 April 2017, as amended in 2019, Art. 8 Law of 13 August 2011, as amended in 2019, Art. 19 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Art. 30 Royal Decree of 18 June 2017, as amended in 2019, Art. 8)
Does the law specify the location for publicizing negotiated calls for tenders? Yes. Bulletin des Adjudications and the Official Journal of the European Union for tenders over the relevant EU thresholds, but only if the tender is of the modality "negotiated procedure with prior call for competition". (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 61 1ş, 139, 140, 141, 142 and 160 Royal Decree of 18 April 2017, as amended in 2019, Art. 8 Law of 13 August 2011, as amended in 2019, Art. 19 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Art. 30 Royal Decree of 18 June 2017, as amended in 2019, Art. 8)

Minimum # of bidders

What is the minimum number of bidders for restricted procedures? 5. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Art. 79, §2 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Art. 60 §2)
What is the minimum number of bidders for negotiated procedures? 3. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Art. 79, §2 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Art. 60 §2)
What is the minimum number of bidders for competitive dialogue procedures? 3. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Art. 79, §2 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Art. 60 §2)

Bidding period length

What are the minimum number of days for open procedures? 35. It can be reduced to 15 days where prior notice has been published or in case of urgency. In the defence sector, the minimum bidding period length for open procedures is 36 days below EU thresholds; it can be reduced to 10 days in case of urgency. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 36 and 118 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Art. 50)
What are the minimum number of days for restricted procedures? 30. It can be reduced to 10 days where prior notice has been published, in case of urgency or in the absence of an agreement, between the contracting authority and selected candidates, on the time limit for receipt of tenders. In the defence sector, the minimum bidding period length for restricted procedures is 40 days (above EU thresholds) or 15 days (below EU thresholds); it can be reduced to 10 days in case of urgency. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 37 and 119 Royal Decree of 23 January 2012, as amended in 2019, Arts. 48 §2 and 51 §2)
What are the minimum number of days for competitive negotiated procedures? 30. It can be reduced to 10 days where prior notice has been published, in case of urgency or in the absence of an agreement, between the contracting authority and selected candidates, on the time limit for receipt of tenders. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 38 §3)

Institutional arrangements

Institutions and regulations

Does the law specify the main EXCEPTIONS preventing the application of the public procurement law for tenders/organisations? Yes. Some of the main exceptions are contracts: 1. for insurance services, banking services and services relating to investments of financial institutions, as well as services provided by certain financial within the scope of the defence sector; 2. relating to certain social and health services within the scope of the defence sector; 3. relating to other social services and specific services; 4. which are jointly drafted by contracting authorities from several countries; 5. relating to the creation and operation of a mixed company for the performance of a contract; 6. concerning techniques and instruments for electronic tenders, which are awarded either by persons benefiting from special or exclusive rights or by public enterprises (in case of contracts whose object is not related to their tasks); 7. for the appointment of a company auditor; 9. for the appointment of a lawyer for legal representation or preparation of legal proceedings. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 2, 1ş 2ş 3ş 4ş 5ş, 3 and 25 Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Art. 6)
Does the law specify the main types of institutions that must apply the public procurement law? Yes. Contracting authorities and entities are: 1. the State; 2. local authorities; 3. public bodies and legal persons created specifically to meet the needs of general interest, and whose activity is mainly financed or managed by the authorities or bodies previously mentiond; 4. associations formed by one or more contracting authorities; 5. public companies; 6. other private entities which have been granted special rights. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, as amended in 2019, Arts. 2, 1ş 2ş 3ş 4ş 5ş and 17 Royal Decree of 14 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Art. 2, 26ş Law of 13 August 2011, as amended in 2019, Art. 2, 1ş 2ş 3ş 4ş)
Does the law specify the main procedure types or procurement methods permitted? Yes. For general procurement, procedure types are: open procedure; restricted procedure; competitive procedure with negotiation; negotiated procedure with prior call for competition (prior notice); negotiated procedure without prior publication; negotiated procedure without prior call for competition; competitive dialogue; direct negotiated procedure with prior publication; direct negotiated procedure with prior call for competition; contest, innovation partnership and framework agreements. For the defence sector, only the restricted procedure (either by restricted invitation to tender or by negotiated procedure with publicity) or competitive dialogue are allowed. In this sector, contracts can only be awarded by open procedure (either by open invitation to tender or by open call for tenders) if their amount does not reach European thresholds. (Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement, Arts. 2, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 and 43 Law of 13 August 2011, as amended in 2019, Art. 22, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29)
Is there a procurement arbitration court dedicated to public procurement cases? No. The appeal body is, as a rule: 1. the administrative litigation section of the Council of State when the contracting authority is an authority referred to in Article 14, § 1 of the coordinated laws on the Council of State (not specialised); 2. a (judicial) judge when the contracting authority is not an authority referred to in Article 14, § 1 of the coordinated laws on the Council of State (not specialised). The appeal body can cancel, suspend or declare the tender devoid of effects, and award damages. (Law of 17 June 2013, last amended in 2019, Art. 24)
Is there a procurement regulatory body dedicated to public procurement? No. Le Service Marchés Publics du SPF Chancellerie du Premier Ministre , which is not a separate regulatory entity.
Does the law specify procurement advisors' profession (i.e. degree to be obtained, official list of members of the professional association) and its role in the tendering process (e.g. right to draft tender documentations, conduct market research identifying bidders)? No. The only relevant provision contemplates that where a particular professional qualification is required of participants in the modality contest ("Concours"), at least a third of the jury members shall have the same or an equivalent qualification. (Royal Decree of 18 April 2017, as amended in 2019, Art. 119 §1)
Is disclosure of final, beneficial owners required for placing a bid? No. ( )

Complaints

Is there a fee for arbitration procedure? No. Law of 17 June 2013 on remedies does not mention any fee. (Law of 17 June 2013, last amended in 2019, Arts. 46, 47, 48 and 49)
Is there a ban on contract signature until arbitration court decision (first instance court)? Yes. The rule is that there is a ban on contract signature until the court's decision is issued. However, exceptions to this rule apply: 1) when the publication at European level of a contract notice or a concession notice is not mandatory; 2) when the only tenderer concerned is the one to whom the contract or concession is awarded and in the absence of candidates concerned; or 3) in the case of a contract based on a framework agreement. (Law of 17 June 2013, last amended in 2019, Arts. 11, 12, 43 and 44)
What is the maximum number of days until arbitration court decision from filing a complaint in the case of awarded contracts? N/S. Law of 17 June 2013 does not specify a maximum number of days for the court to reach as decision. Moreover, in the absence of express derogation by Law of 17 June 2013, the rules of jurisdiction and procedure before the appeal body are those set by the laws and decrees relating to the appeal body. (Law of 17 June 2013, last amended in 2019, Art. 25)
Is there a requirement to publicly release arbitration court decisions ? No.

Legislation

Law of 13 August 2011 on public contracts and certain contracts for works, supplies and services in the fields of defense and security (French)pdf
Law of 17 June 2013 on motivation, information and legal remedies in public procurement, certain works, supply and service contracts and concessions (French)pdf
Law of 17 June 2016 on Concession Contracts (French)pdf
Law of 17 June 2016 on Public Procurement (French)pdf
Royal Decree of 10 March 1998 organizing the Public Procurement Commission (French)pdf
Royal Decree of 13 July 2014 relating to energy efficiency requirements in the context of certain public contracts and concession contracts relating to the acquisition of products, services and buildings (French)pdf
Royal Decree of 14 January 2013 establishing general rules for the execution of public contracts (French)pdf
Royal Decree of 18 April 2017 on the award of public contracts in traditional sectors (French)pdf
Royal Decree of 18 June 2017 on the award of public contracts in special sectors (French)pdf
Royal Decree of 20 December 2010 on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles in the context of public contracts (French)pdf
Royal Decree of 23 January 2012 on the award of public contracts and certain contracts for works, supplies and services in the fields of defense and security (French)pdf
Royal Decree of 25 June 2017 relating to the signing and general rules for the execution of concession contracts (French)pdf
Royal Decree of 3 April 2013 relating to the intervention of the Council of Ministers, delegations of power and authorizations for the award and execution of public contracts, competitions and concessions at the federal level (French)pdf

*Last update: 2017