> The provinces

Wallonia is made up of 5 provinces: Walloon Brabant, Hainaut, Liège, Luxembourg and Namur.

The provinces have existed since the creation of the Belgian State. Two new provinces, Walloon Brabant and Flemish Brabant, were created following the scission of the Brabant province on 1 January 1995.

competencies - political institutions - administration

Competencies

The provinces exercise a dual function. On the one hand, they are subordinate local authorities, responsible for executing certain decisions made by other authorities. On the other hand, they are autonomous political bodies endowed with their own decision-making powers : they are free to take initiatives providing the matter is not excluded from their competencies by the Constitution, the law or decree. They therefore exercise a series of compulsory responsibilities, which are identical for each Walloon province, and optional responsibilities, which are particular to each province. They exercise these responsibilities in complementarity with those of the Walloon Government and the communes.

The compulsory responsibilities include supervision of the communes for certain matters (essentially budget and accounts, status of officials), candidacies to certain public offices, covering the deficit for the construction and maintenance of cathedrals, establishments responsible for the property of orthodox and Islamic religions, secular moral assistance establishments, law and order.

The most important or most frequent optional responsibilities are education (the provinces organise educational institutions (secondary or higher)), culture, social welfare, heritage sites and assets, etc.

Political institutions

Each province has an assembly of elected members, the Provincial Council, and an executive, the Provincial College (formerly known as the Permanent Delegation). A Governor designated by the Walloon Government is at the head of the province.

The Provincial Council is made of 47 to 84 directly elected members. The provincial elections take place every six years, at the same time as the communal elections.

The Provincial College is made up of 6 provincial members (formerly known as the permanent members) elected by the Provincial Council from within, and including the Governor, without voting rights. The Provincial College is accountable to the Provincial Council. The Provincial Council and the Provincial College can issue regulations and police orders in provincial matters.

The Governor is the Walloon Government Commissioner in the province, is appointed for an unlimited duration and is given special competencies. The Governor is part of the Provincial College (without voting rights), and also exercises own competencies associated with his/her role as Walloon Government Commissioner, or entrusted to him/her by the Federal Authority or the French Community. These competencies include law and order and administrative supervision over the communes. The Governor ensures that the laws are applied.

The provinces are now governed by the decree of the Walloon Region voted 11 February 2004, which replaces the former provincial law. Since 1st January 2002, provincial law had become a Regional competence in nearly all its aspects.

The provinces are submitted to the legislative and administrative control (tutelle) of the Walloon Region.

The Provincial Council, the Provincial College and the Governor are based in the provincial capital.

Administration

The provinces exercise their responsibility thanks to the provincial administration. Each province organises its administration differently.

Websites of the provinces :
Brabant wallon
Hainaut
Liège
Luxembourg
Namur