At present, regional and city offices have no official status in Belgium, which means that their staff do not enjoy the privileges and immunities of national representations.
What is the regional certificate?
The regional certificate was launched in 1991 on the initiative of the Brussels-Europe Liaison Office to provide regional representations with an official document they could use to establish their status in Brussels Region. The certificate helps these offices deal with municipal and regional administrations in Brussels. It is also a useful document in dealing with other organisations such as landlords, banks and telephone operators. In addition, it allows contracts to be signed on behalf of the representation rather than its director.
The Minister of External Relations of Brussels Region is responsible for issuing this certificate every year to official representations of cities, regions and other public bodies. The certificate recognises the office as the official representation of a government or public body. It is never issued to organisations of a commercial nature.
How to obtain the regional certifcate?
To obtain a certificate, the regional or city government simply has to send a written request to Mr Guy Vanhengel, Minister of the Budget, Finance and External Relations, Avenue des Arts 9, 1210 Brussels.
The application has to give details of the representation’s future office (address, phone number, fax, email address and website). It also has to give the name of the person who will be appointed as director. The application should also contain other documents, such as the statutes, mission statement, a copy of the legal document setting up the representation and, if possible, copies of relevant Parliamentary reports.
The Minister then passes the application to the Brussels-Europe Liaison Office for its approval. If the BELO approves the request, a certificate is prepared for the Minister to sign.
All bodies granted an official regional certificate are automatically added to the official list of regional and municipal representations. This is available as an Excel document and is published on this website (see: search engine).
- Read ‘The legal personality of regional representation offices’, a study by Professor Bart De Schutter, 2005.
- Contact Karin Impens, firstname.lastname@example.org, 02 234 57 41