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Abstract

This contribution examine the powers of the Brussels Capital Region related to exnovation measures.
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WORKING!PAPER!–!open!for!comments!
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Exnovation!in!the!Brussels!Capital!Region!–!!
What!Effective!Governance!Power!Does!the!Brussels!Capital!Region!Have?!
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Document!type!
Working!Paper!
Authors!
Prof.!Dr.!Régine!Feltkamp!&!Ayana!Dootalieva!
Institution!
VUB!–!Vakgroep!Privaat!en!Economisch!Recht!-!
BuCO!
Status!
Final!
Date!
20210128!
Document!number!
D4.1!–!N1v2!
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Contact!for!comments!or!questions!
Regine.Feltkamp@vub.be!
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Follow!Gosete!via!
-!https://exnovation.brussels/!
-!Facebook:!https://www.facebook.com/GOSETEproject/!
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EXNOVATION!IN!THE!BRUSSELS!CAPITAL!REGION!!
WHAT!EFFECTIVE!GOVERNANCE!POWER!DOES!THE!BRUSSELS!CAPITAL!REGION!HAVE?!
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Régine'Feltkamp1!and#Ayana#Dootalieva2!
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TABLE!OF!CONTENTS!
1.-!INTRODUCTION!..........................................................................................................................!4!
2.-!EU!LEVEL!....................................................................................................................................!5!
2.1.-!EU!COMPETENCES!........................................................................................................................!5!
2.2.-!TYPES!OF!EU!LEGISLATION!.............................................................................................................!7!
3.-!BE!LEVEL!...................................................................................................................................!10!
3.1.-!INTRODUCTION!..........................................................................................................................!10!
3.2.-!GENERAL!RULES!REGARDING!THE!BELGIAN!DIVISION!OF!POWERS!BETWEEN!THE!FEDERAL!AND!REGIONAL!LEVEL!10!
3.2.1.-&GENERAL!.......................................................................................................................................!10!
3.2.2.-&INTERPRETATION!............................................................................................................................!11!
3.2.3.-&PRINCIPLES!....................................................................................................................................!11!
3.2.4.-&6TH&STATE&REFORM!........................................................................................................................!13!
3.3.-!DIVISION!OF!COMPETENCES!IN!BELGIUM!APPLIED!TO!EXNOVATION!........................................................!13!
3.3.1.-&GENERAL!.......................................................................................................................................!13!
3.3.2.-&POSSIBLE&POLICY&DOMAINS!...............................................................................................................!15!
3.3.3.-&DIVISION&OF&COMPETENCE&REGARDING&ENFORCEMENT&((PENAL)&SANCTIONS,&PENALIZATION,&PROSECUTION)!..!20!
3.3.4.-&COMPETENCE&REGARDING&TAXATION&/&RETRIBUTIONS&/&COMPENSATION&SCHEMES!.....................................!21!
4.-!CONCLUSION!............................................................................................................................!22!
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1!! Professor!of!law!at!Vrije!Universiteit!Brussel,!Center!for!Private!and!Business!Law,!Research!group!Business! &!
!Contracts!(BuCo);!Lawyer!at!the!Brussels!Bar.
2!! Legal!Researcher!at!Vrije!Universiteit!Brussel,! .!Center!for!Private!and!Business!Law
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1.-!Introduction!!
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1. Governance!policies!or!proposals!in!the!Brussels!Capital!Region!(BCR)!related!to!exnovation!
are!dependent!on!the!legislative!powers!granted!to!the!Brussels!Capital!Region.3! ! This!paper!will!
assess!the!legal!competences!of!the!Brussels!Capital!Region!to!enact!measures!implementing!or!
facilitating!exnovation!policies.! This!assessment!is!prompted!by!the!BCR’s!increase!in!interest!to!
address!sustainability!challenges!by!means!of!(implicit)!exnovation!measures,!inter&alia!expressed!
with!the!establishment!of!a! Low! Emission!Zone,!a!pedestrian-only!zone!in!the!city!centre,!and!more!
recently!with!the!announcement!to!introduce!a!kilometer!charge’!for!vehicles!entering!the!Brussels!
Capital!Region,!a!measure!aiming!to!reduce!polluting!vehicles!in!territory!of!the!BCR.! These!
measures,! which!substantially!affect!Brussels’!citizens!and!business,!raise!various!governance!
challenges,!in!addition!to!the!basic!question!of!the!BCR’s!powers!related!to!exnovation!policies.!The!
latter!question!is!particularly!salient!given!the!complicated!institutional!structure!of!Belgium,!and!its!
membership!of!the!European!Union,!which!also!determines!the!place!of!the!BCR!within!the!
framework!of!the!division!of!exnovation!powers.!!
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2. The!BCR’s!margin!to!manoeuver!when! it! comes!to!adopting!measures!or!actions!in!the!
sphere!of!exnovation!is! regulated!by!a!two-leveled!complex!and!mandatory!institutional!legal!
framework.!An!assessment!of!the!powers!of!and!the!possibilities!for!the!BCR!in!this!context!requires!
a!two-step!assessment.!
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First!of!all,!as!Belgium!is!a!member!of!the!European!Union,!its!authorities!should!take!into!account!
the!legal!framework!of!the!European!Union!when!enacting!legal!measures.!For!every!proposed!
measure!it!should be assessed whether the regulated area falls (or not) within the scope of EU
competences..!This!should!be!done!on!a!case-by-case!basis.!Depending!on!the!type!of!the!measure,!
Member!States!may!or!may!not!have!the!power!to!act.!
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Secondly,!where!an!issue!can!be!regulated!at!the!national!level,!it!is!yet!to!be!verified!whether!the!
Brussels!Capital!Region!is!competent!to!take!on! a!legislative!role,!in!accordance!with!the!specifics!of!
the!Belgian!institutional!structure.!In!Belgium,!the!power!to!enact!legal!measures!is!divided!between!
the!federal!state!and!the!federated!entities!depending!on!the!applicable!matter!or!area.!The!Brussels!
Capital!Region,!one!of!the!federated!entities,!is!competent!to!enact! legislation!and!regulations!
provided!that!it!has!competences!in!that!particular!matter.!
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3. This!assessment!is!based!on!the!premise!that!exnovation!is! a! broad!and!generic!term!that!
refers!to!the!process!of!phasing!out!certain!goods,!services!or!means!of!production!/! consumption!
and!includes!all!actions!and!processes!whereby!these!existing!goods,!services!or!means!of!production!
/!consumption!are!abandoned!and!taken!out!of!circulation!/!use.!Governance!measures!taken!in!that!
respect!include! a! wide!scope!of!decisions!and!actions!from!public!authorities!(ranging!from!strict!
prohibitions!cq.!obligation!to!use!certain!goods!to!measures!that!intent!to!stimulate!the!use!of!
certain!goods!/!production!means!rather!than!others)!or!private!actors.!
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3 This!paper!was!prepared!as!part!of!the!Gosete!project,!a!multidisciplinary!research!project!granted!by!Innoviris!to!the!
Université! Libre! de! Bruxelles!and! the! VUB.! !The! GOSETE! team! is! made! of! researchers! of! the! Institute! for!
environmental! management! and! land! use! planning! (IGEAT)! of! the! Université! libre! de! Bruxelles! (ULB)! and! of! the!
Center!for!economic!law!and!governance!(Buco)!of!the!Vrije!Universiteit!Brussel!(VUB)!
.! For! more! information! on! the! Gosete! project,! visit! our! website:! https://exnovation.brussels/en/governance-
sustainable-economy-transition-challenges-exnovation/.!
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It!is!to!be!noted!that!when!drafting!legislative!measures,!besides!the!question!of!the!competence!of!
the!Brussels!Capital!Region!to!adopt!such!measures,!it!is!also!to!be!verified!if!the!intended!measures!
i)!are!adopted!with!the!correct!legal!instrument!(e.g.!decree!(“decreet”! /! “décret”)!versus!
implementing!decision!(“uitvoeringsbesluit”! /! “arrêté&d’exéution”))! and! through!the!applicable!
legislative!processes!and!ii)!if!the!content!of!the!intended!measures!is!compliant!with!the!existing!
applicable!legal!framework.!In!this!respect!the!hierarchy!of!norms!should!be!respected!and!the!
content!of!a!regulation!should!be!assessed!against!the!applicable!higher!norms.!!
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In!this!respect!due!account!is!to!be!given!to!the!fact!that!any!legal!act!should!be!in!compliance!with!
the!Belgian!Constitution!and!must!e.g.!respect!the!principle!of!equality!and!non-discrimination!(art.!
10,!11!Belgian!Constitution).!Likewise,!obliging!individuals!or!companies!to!use!certain!goods! /!
services!/!means!of!production!or!consumption!or!to!get!rid!of!certain!goods!/!services!may!conflict!
with!the!fundamental!rights!and!freedoms!such!as!the!fundamental!right!to!property!and!self-
determination!or!the!freedom!to!conduct!a!business.!These!aspects!do!not!form!part!of!this!
document,!which!is!dedicated!only!to!the!delimitation!of!the!powers!of!the!Brussels!Capital!Region.!
2.-!EU!Level!
2.1.-!EU!Competences!
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4. At!the!EU!level,!one!should!take!into!account!that!based!on!the!treaties!establishing!the!EU!-!
TEU4!and!TFEU5!-!the!European!Union!(EU)!can!adopt!legislation!which!may!limit!the!powers!of!
Member!States!!to!enact!national!measures.!The!EU!can,!in!principle,!only!act!within!the!boundaries!
set!by!the!Treaties!and!should,!in!the!course!of!any!action,!adhere!to!the!principles!of!proportionality!
of!subsidiarity.6! !Regarding!the!material!competences!of!the!EU,!a!distinction!is!made!between!
exclusive,!shared!and!supporting!competences.!The!table!below!lists!the!different!subject!matters!for!
which!the!EU!is!competent!and!makes!a!distinction!between!the!level!of!involvement!granted!to!the!
EU.!Where!the!EU!has!exclusive!competences,!it!is!the!sole!entity!which!can!act,!legislate!and!
regulate.!In!matters!of!shared!competences!between!the!EU!and!Member!States,!national!authorities!
can!act!as!long!as!the!EU!has!not.!In!matters!of!supporting!competences,!the!Union!can!support!or!
coordinate!where!Member!States!largely!retain!legislative!power.7!
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Table!1!:!Overview!competences!EU!
Exclusive!competences!(Article!3!
!TFEU)
Rules!on!competition!and!state!
!aid
!Eurozone!monetary!policy
!Customs!Union
4!! Treaty!on!the!European!Union.!!
5!! Treaty!on!the!Functioning!of!the!European!Union!!!
6!! Article!5!TEU.!!
7!! See:!https://eur-lex.europa.eu/summary/glossary/competences.html.!
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