Postcard from... Brussels


Belgians living in areas completely isolated due to the bubonic plague can finally breathe a sigh of relief: soon they will be able to get online and petition to have a law banning them from writing a will struck down.

This rather nonsensical prohibition is one of the many arcane laws still on the books in Belgium. Now, two politicians are hoping they can enlist citizens to once and for all clear up the useless legislation. MP Patrick Dewael and Senator Els Van Hoof have created a website due to go live later this month where people can get online and fill in a form suggesting laws that should abolished. They point out that MPs should not only create new laws, but that they also have the obligation to look for laws that have become obsolete.

Other beneficiaries could be bailiffs, who had until now been prohibited from taking a person’s last cow, 12 goats, 24 chickens and a month’s worth of animal feed.

Belgian royals with an eye over the border could petition for the scrapping of a law banning them from marrying Dutch sovereigns. Another law still on the books, Flanders News reports, allows for the general mobilisation should a war break out in the Belgian Congo, despite the fact that it has been an independent country for decades.

But, as the news website points out, citizens are not able to petition changes to other laws, and are discouraged from going online to grumble about speeding limits, drug possession charges, or pesky construction laws.