Country Information Belgium

Belgium: a country of regions.

Belgium is a federal state made up of three Communities (the Flemish, the French and the German speaking community) and three regions (the Brussels-Capital Region, the Flemish Region and the Walloon Region).

Belgium counts ca. 11,1 million inhabitants, 3 official languages ( French, Dutch and German) for 30.528 km2.

The main federal institutions are the federal government and the federal parliament, and the Communities and Regions also have their own legislative and executive bodies.

The principal powers of the three Communities in Belgium, which are delimited on linguistic grounds, relate to education, culture, youth support and certain aspects of health policy. The three Regions have powers for ‘territorial issues’, such as public works, agriculture, employment, town and country  planning and the environment.

Belgium is a constitutional monarchy.

The European Union is part of Belgians’ everyday life. A number of European institutions, for instance the European Commission and the European Council, employing thousands of European civil servants, are based in Brussels – which is therefore often called ‘the capital of Europe’.

Belgium has always worked to widen and deepen European integration, and Belgian politicians have played a crucial role in the development of the European Union. All of this means that Europe is very close to Belgians’ hearts.

Governmental metrological control is in general a competence of the Public Federal Service Economy (FPS Economy).

The Department for Legal Metrology of the FPS Economy is responsible for overviewing and maintaining the regulatory framework on legal metrology.

Legal metrology regulation in Belgium covers, amongst other issues, the definition of legal measurement units (based on the International System of Units (SI)), the verification of measurement instruments used in commercial transactions and for custody transfer, and transposition of European directives in the field of metrology.

On top of the measurement instruments subject to European harmonisation legislation, the following instruments are subject to national regulations:

  • Fixed storage tanks
  • Automatic level gauges
  • Measurement instruments for (average) speed control
  • Evidential breath analysers
  • Alcohol interlock breath analysers
  • Measurement instruments for weighing in motion
  • Other measurement instruments for commercial transactions

For measurement instruments subject to national regulations, type approvals are delivered by the Legal Metrology Department.

The evaluation is done following an application introduced by the manufacturer or a duly mandated representative. The application must be accompanied by a complete set of documentation demonstrating the conformity of the (proto)type of the measurement instrument based on test reports from accredited laboratories or national metrology institutes.

Initial verification of measurement instruments subject to national regulations are all performed by inspection officers of the of the Department for Legal Metrology.

In principle, all measurement instruments used for commercial transactions and custody transfer must are subject to re-verification every 4 years. Some type of instruments have a mandatory reverification every 2 years (automatic level gauges, automatic weighing instruments on mobile platforms) and even yearly (measurement instruments for liquids other than water).

While originally all re-verification activities were operated by inspection officers of the Department for Legal Metrology, today a growing part of the re-verification is done by authorised private companies. In order obtain a formal approval for performing re-verification, the company must demonstrate its competence and ability on the basis of a proper accreditation as an inspection body (according to ISO/IEC 17020).

Utility meters operated under the control of utility distribution companies are subject to a statistical technical control. A representative sample of each lot of utility are evaluated and tested in an accredited laboratory. Based on the result of the evaluation, the corresponding lot can be maintained in operation or must be completely replaced within a determined period.

Two systems of sanctions are in place : a system of administrative fines and a system of punishment by courts.

The use of non-compliant measurement instruments or failing to respect the mandatory re-verification period, are punishable by administrative fine.

The Directive is implemented by the royal decree of April 12th, 2016.

There are no in Belgium established notified bodies authorised to carry out third-party conformity assessment tasks under this Directive.

The Directive is implemented by the royal decree of April 15th, 2016.

There are no in Belgium established notified bodies authorised to carry out third-party conformity assessment tasks under this Directive.


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