The Belgian Supreme Court has decided to make life easier for the French-speaking residents of the Flemish communes with linguistic facilities.
Are you familiar with the ‘communes with linguistic facilities? This is definitely a Belgian concept. Those communes address the issue of multilingualism in Belgium. For decades, the residents of those communes have had the right to communicate with the public services in another official Belgian language.
There are 27 communes with linguistic facilities across Belgium.
But from a Brussels perspective, the most significant ones are located in the Flemish cities around the Brussels-capital region: Drogenbos, Kraainem, Linkebeek, Rhode-Saint-Genèse, Wemmel and Wezembeek-Oppem. Although Dutch is the official language there, as they’re situated in Flanders, the French-speaking residents have the right to use French for different services. The nationalist Flemish citizens are regularly concerned about the rights of the French speakers in those communes.
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They might be even more concerned about the recent ruling from the Cour de cassation (Federal Supreme Court). The Court has made it possible for French speakers to ask only once to get the official documents in their language. Although the former rule was not that constraining, as this request had to be made every 4 years so far, the new ruling will definitely make the French speakers’ life easier around the Brussels-capital region.
But don’t be confused, Dutch remains and will remain the official language in those communes.