Crown Council of Belgium
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The Crown Council of Belgium is composed of the King of the Belgians, the Ministers and the Ministers of State. The King chairs the Crown Council. During a session of the Crown Council, the Ministers of State can do nothing but advise the King, as the authority to make political decisions is vested in the King and the Federal Government, in accordance with the Belgian Constitution.
To date, the Crown Council has met on only five occasions:
- July 16, 1870: The start of the Franco-Prussian War (Leopold II of Belgium)
- August 2 and 3, 1914: The German ultimatum to Belgium at the beginning of World War I (Albert I of Belgium)
- May 2, 1919: The Treaty of Versailles (Albert I of Belgium)
- March 23, 1950: The Royal Question (Leopold III of Belgium)
- February 18, 1960: The independence of Belgian Congo (Baudouin I of Belgium)
Nowadays, the Crown Council is seen as an ancient and even out-dated political organ. The title of Minister of State is given as an honorary title and not with a possible Crown Council meeting in mind. None of the living Ministers of State have ever participated in a Crown Council meeting. During the 2007–08 Belgian government formation though, King Albert II declared to ask the help of several Ministers of State with experience in solving political crisis. The King consulted with Ministers of State Wilfried Martens, Jean-Luc Dehaene, Guy Verhofstadt, Philippe Moureaux, Willy Claes, Gérard Deprez, Jos Geysels, Philippe Busquin, Charles-Ferdinand Nothomb, José Daras, Raymond Langendries, Herman De Croo, Louis Michel, Herman Van Rompuy and Armand De Decker. Some political analysts saw this as a modern use of the Crown Council.
Living Ministers of State
- André Molitor, La Fonction Royale en Belgique, CRISP, 1979
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