The Flemish Region Ikea Act

In Flanders, the socio-economic permit will be replaced by the environmental permit as of 1 January 2018.

The Flemish Decree concerning the integral policy on commercial establishments has been finally approved by the Flemish Parliament and published in the Belgian Official Gazette of 29 July 2016.

When the "services" Directive came into force in 2006, some issues have arisen about the Belgian so called Ikea Act, the law of 13 August 2004 concerning the permit for setting up commercial activities. The criteria of the Ikea Act to deliver the permits were not compatible with the Directive.

Pursuant to the Ikea Act, new commercial establishments, whose net surface area exceeds 400 square metres, need a socio-economic permit. Therefore, they have to undergo an economic test to consider their impact on the existing trade.

The main novelty of this new Decree lies in the replacement of the socio-economic permit by an environmental permit for retail activities whose net sales area exceeds 400 m2.

However, the entry into force of the provisions of the decree applicable to this matter has been postponed until 1 January 2018.

Meanwhile, the Ikea Act remains applicable for the retail businesses in the Flemish Region whose net surface area exceeds 400 m2.

More information about the Ikea Act in the Brussels and the Walloon Region is available by clicking here.

27 October 2016

Alain De Jonge -