On Wednesday, March 31st, 2021, the Belgian State was ordered to lift “All coronavirus measures,” within 30 days. According to the League for Human Rights, the legal basis for the measures is insufficient. The country’s system implemented the coronavirus measures using Ministerial Decrees. This means that the state can implement measures without any input from parliament.
What is an Epidemic Emergency?
The pandemic law (epidemic emergency) was declared by the King for a maximum duration of three months. It was advised by the Federal Health Minister, Council of Ministers, and the Regions. They claim that with continued scientific evidence, these emergency measures can then be extended for up to three months at a time.
When a pandemic is declared, the Interior Minister takes measures that are “Necessary, appropriate, proportionate and limited in time,” to prevent or limit the effect of the epidemic. Governors and mayors will also be allowed to take additional measures if the local conditions require it.
The League for Human Rights filed the lawsuit several weeks ago and challenged Belgium’s system of implementing the measures using Ministerial Decrees.
There are members of the Brussels government who are not impressed. According to the Flemish right-wing N-VA party. the recent verdict of a Brussels court – which ordered Belgium to lift all its coronavirus measures within 30 days – is a “Disgrace for the government.” Barbara Pas, the group leader of the opposition Vlaams Belang, also called the judgement “an unbelievable embarrassment for the government,” and added that she fears that the legal basis will now be rushed.
The judges gave the Belgian State 30 days to provide a sound legal basis or face a penalty of €5,000 per day that this period is exceeded, with a maximum limit of €200,000.