At the time of writing, April 2023, the Belgian Chamber of Representatives is discussing a draft law on, among other things, the establishment of the ‘Directie Integriteitsbeoordelingen Openbaar Bestuur’, Directorate for Integrity Assessments of Public Administrations (DIOB). The draft law also provides for the establishment in every Belgian judicial district of an ARIEC that can provide support in the context of the administrative approach to organized crime.
Response of the Euregional Information and Expertise Centre (EURIEC) to the draft law
According to the EURIEC, it is a good evolution that the DIOB bill provides for the exchange with equivalent foreign institutions (such as the Dutch Landelijk Bureau, National Bibob Agency (LBB). This will, in principle, make it possible to exchange information across borders between the DIOB and the LBB, for example, after concluding an agreement. The EURIEC already has the ambition to enter into a dialogue with legislators in the Netherlands to see whether it would be possible to include a similar article in Dutch legislation as well (a third tranche Bibob Act). Work could then be done to conclude an agreement between the LBB and the DIOB.
In addition, the EURIEC points out that until an agreement is concluded with other foreign equivalent institutions, it will be very difficult with the current and proposed regulations to receive information on foreign licence applicants. This will require further amendments to national legislation. The EURIEC is in contact with policymakers in Belgium and the Netherlands for this purpose to see how this issue can be remedied.
The draft bill bears certain similarities to the Bibob legislation in the Netherlands. Yet there are also some interesting differences. The EURIEC, in cooperation with the ARIEC Limburg (BE) and RIEC Limburg (NL), therefore made a general comparison between the Belgian bill and Dutch Bibob legislation. Download the document here.