Catherine De Bruecker, Brussels' new civil mediator , Source: The Brussels Ombudsman

After 30 years of waiting, Brussels finally has an ombudsman

After 30 years of waiting, Brussels finally has an ombudsman

The Brussels Capital Region, created in 1989, was the only administrative entity in Belgium to not have a working mediation office

Today, finally, the Brussels Capital Region got its first-ever appointment to the ombudsman position. The ombudsman provides mediation services between citizens and government structures and as such, is not directly part of the administration, but rather sits parallel to it.

Independent of the administration, the ombudsman serves as a mediator between citizens, answering their grievances and mediating for the resolution of their issues. Additionally, the ombudsman can recommend structural changes to administrative bodies.

Curiously, the Brussels Capital Region, which was officially created in 1989, kept the position vacant up until this point. Ombudsman services are quite popular in Belgium and until today, it was the only administrative entity in the country to not have an ombudsman service.

The perfect woman for the job

The first ombudsman, Catherine De Bruecker, was originally appointed in December, however, the service itself was originally launched at the start of September. Catherine De Bruecker is an exceptional pick for the position because she used to be the Federal Mediator of the French-speaking part of Belgium from 2005 up until her appointment in Brussels.

As La Nouvelle Gazette reports, De Bruecker explained that her position should mend the trust between public institutions and private citizens. Also, she pointed out that she would rather work with the administration to solve structural issues internally. However, when something is not working right, citizens should still report to the ombudsman service.

One interesting point is that the mediation service is also tasked with protecting whistleblowers. People who work in the Brussels’ administration and come across corruption and fraud can file reports to the ombudsman service. The Service will then launch an investigation into the matter while protecting whistleblowers.

The Curious case of Brussels Capital Region

Brussels Capital Region, not to be confused with the city of Brussels, is a curious case when it comes to administration structures. It is the third part of the Federal Republic of Belgium. As a bilingual composite part of Belgium, it forms the core and balance between the French-speaking Wallonia and the Dutch-speaking Flanders.

The region has the same administrative weight as Flanders and Wallonia and comprises 19 municipalities in the Brussels agglomeration, meaning its metropolitan territory.

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