Belgium

House of RepresentativesSenate

House of Representatives

Openness and transparency

Information about access to parliamentary documents, parliament’s reporting to the public, parliament’s relation to Freedom of Information laws, and lobbying.

Parliamentary documents

The agendas of plenary meetings are published online in advance The agendas of plenary meetings are published online in advance.
The agendas of committee meetings are published online in advance The agendas of committee meetings are published online in advance.
Results of votes on draft legislation are published on the parliamentary web site Results of votes on draft legislation are published on the parliamentary web site.
Draft legislation is published on the parliamentary website Draft legislation is published on the parliamentary website.
Citizens can submit comments on draft legislation on the parliamentary web site

Annual reporting by parliament

Parliament publishes an annual report on its activities
The annual report is available on the parliamentary web site
Yes
Parliament publishes the parliamentary budget
Level of detail of the parliamentary budget made available to the public Level of detail of the parliamentary budget made available to the public: Only the total amount; A summary of the main elements; The complete budget
The complete budget
The parliamentary budget is available on the parliamentary web site
Yes

Access to parliament

Plenary meetings are open to the public
Notes
Cf. art. 56 and 176 of the Chamber’s Rules.
Committee meetings are open to the public
Notes
Cf. art. 31, 39 and 176 of the Chamber’s Rules.
There is a dedicated channel for broadcasting parliamentary meetings A dedicated channel is one that is mainly about parliament, and is accessible free of charge to the general public. The channel might be owned by Parliament or a public or private company. Dedicated channels may be broadcast by parliament, government, or another broadcaster. They may be carried on television, radio or the Internet (webcasting).
Media used for the dedicated channel
Webcast
Meetings broadcast on the dedicated channel
Plenary sittings
Committee meetings

Freedom of information

There is a freedom of information law in the country
Yes
Parliament is subject to the freedom of information law
Parliament has an office/division dedicated to FOI requests
No
Categories of Information that are exempt from disclosure Certain categories of information may be exempt from disclosure
Parliament is subject to the Freedom of Information Act only for acts relating to public procurement, the affairs of its' personnel, its' nominations and appointments to public office and measures of a disciplinary nature.

See article 6, § 2, of the law of April 11, 1994 ‘relating to the publicity of the administration’(‘relative à la publicité de l'administration’). These are mainly cases where the consultation or communication of information undermines:
- the privacy of citizens;
- to an obligation of secrecy established by law;
- secrecy of the deliberations of the Federal Government and the authorities officials under the federal executive power or to whom a federal authority is associated;
- to one of the following interests:
1° the defense of the integrity of the national territory and military defense plans;
2° the accomplishment of the missions of the armed forces;
3° the internal security of the State, including in the field of energy
nuclear, and the sustainability of the democratic and constitutional order;
4° the external security of the State and the international relations of Belgium;
5° the scientific and economic potential of the country;
6° any other fundamental interest of the State;
7° the safety of Belgian nationals abroad;
8° the functioning of the decision-making bodies of the State;
9° the safety of persons to whom protective measures were granted in the context of a criminal investigation procedure.

In addition, under article 6, § 1, the request for consultation or communication must be rejected if it is found that the interest of publicity does not prevail based on the protection of one of the following interests:
1° public safety;
2° the freedoms and fundamental rights of citizens;
3° the federal international relations of Belgium;
4° public order, national security or defence;
5° the investigation or prosecution of punishable offences;
6° a federal economic or financial interest, currency or public credit;
7° the inherently confidential nature of the business information or manufacturing reported to the authority;
8° the secrecy of the identity of the person who communicated the document or information to the administrative authority on a confidential basis to denounce a punishable or supposedly punishable fact.

Lobbying

There are rules about the activities of lobbyists in parliament
Source
Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, Article 163.
Notes
Article 163(6) stipulates that the companies, institutions, organizations and natural persons concerned, by registering in the register of lobbies, undertake to act in compliance with the Code of Conduct appended to the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives
There is a register of accredited lobbyists
The register of accredited lobbyists is available on the parliamentary web site
Yes