Analyse

Since the beginning of 2019, the Flemish Government has decided to abolish the law on establishment of businesses. This law dates back to 1998.

On the other hand, in both Wallonia and Brussels, the law on establishment of businesses is still in force. 

1. What did the abolished law entail?  

Certain professions could only be practised if a proof of professional competence was provided. This was only possible with a suitable diploma or useful professional experience.

The abolition of the establishment of businesses legislation in Flanders came about under the influence of European law. After all, Flemish entrepreneurs were considered to be discriminated compared to foreign entrepreneurs who were not subject to such establishment of businesses legislation.  

 2. Consequences of the abolition of the law on establishment of businesses in Flanders  

Since 1 January 2019, it is no longer required to prove that one has the professional competence to exercise professions in certain sectors (e.g. construction) in Flanders. The basic knowledge of business management also no longer needs to be demonstrated. 

As a result, it is easier to start a business as an entrepreneur.  

However, it is still necessary to apply for the correct NACEBEL codes when starting a business. In this respect, only the proof of professional competence and basic knowledge of business management has disappeared as a result of the abolition of the legislation on establishment.  

As a reminder, the NACEBEL codes are taken from NACE, which is an official European list that classifies economic activities by describing and numbering them. Businesses are thus classified into sectors. Each country can add additional codes to the list, which is the BEL part, as long as the basic list remains unchanged. Together this forms the NACEBEL codes. 

3. CBE registration obligatory

Not only the abolition of the legislation on establishment has important consequences for entrepreneurs.  

The Code on Economic Law provides for a criminal  sanction in the event of inadequate registration in the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (Kruispuntbank van Ondernemingen, CBE).  

A correct registration of the activity in the CBE, via the NACEBEL codes, is therefore mandatory each time a company is established.

4. What about Wallonia and Brussels? 

In both Wallonia and Brussels, the legislation on establishment of businesses is still in force. This means that as an entrepreneur established in these regions, you still need to demonstrate your professional competence as well as your basic knowledge of business management.  

In order to know which legislation applies, the place of the domicile of the business owner, or the registered office of the company is decisive. 

Businesses established in Flanders are no longer bound by the strict establishment rules, while their Walloon and Brussels colleagues still  have to comply.   

5. Conclusion

The abolition of the legislation on establishment of businesses has had major consequences for Flemish businesses. Access to the business world  has been simplified.

However, it is important to bear in mind that this law was only abolished in Flanders and not in Brussels and Wallonia.  

Should you like more information on this subject, please do not hesitate to contact our specialists via info@seeds.law or +32 (0)2 747 40 07.

Would you like to learn more about this subject?

Contact our experts or telephone +32 (0)2 747 40 07
Leo Peeters

Leo Peeters

Partner
Koen De Puydt

Koen De Puydt

Partner
Alain De Jonge

Alain De Jonge

Partner
Roeland Moeyersons

Roeland Moeyersons

Partner
Vincent Cassiers

Vincent Cassiers

Partner
Peter Moerman

Peter Moerman

Partner
Steve Griess

Steve Griess

Partner
Toon Rummens

Toon Rummens

Partner
Leila Mstoian

Leila Mstoian

Partner
Ulrike Beuselinck

Ulrike Beuselinck

Partner