Broadly speaking, the powers of the Federal State cover everything connected with the public interest. In the general interest of all Belgians, the Federal State manages the public finances, the army, the judicial system, social security, foreign affairs as well as substantial parts of public health and home affairs. So the Federal State has powers in these areas.
The Federal State retains a considerable "common heritage". This includes the judicial system, the army, the federal police, social security and the important laws in the field of social security (unemployment, pensions, child benefit, health insurance), public debt, monetary policy, prices and incomes policy, protection of savings, nuclear energy, State-owned companies (such as Belgian Railways, the Post Office), the federal scientific and cultural institutions, etc.Furthermore, the Federal State is responsible for the obligations of Belgium and its federalised institutions towards the European Union or NATO.
The Federal Government's powers also cover everything that does not expressly come under the Communities or Regions. The Federal State also has powers for exemptions and restrictions on the powers of the Communities and the Regions.
The Communities are autonomous in the field of education, for example, but the minimum requirements for the award of qualifications remains a matter for the federal government, as does the compulsory aspect of education and the pension scheme.