Ecologists deplore continuity between past and present governments

Ecologists deplore continuity between past and present governments

The Wallonia Region’s 2018 budget reflects a strong continuity between the choices of the current MR-cdH Government and those of its predecessor, the head of the Ecolo Party in the Walloon parliament, Stephane Hazée, said on Monday, one day after the end of budget deliberations on Sunday. “This is particularly striking on ecological issues, where an absence of real investment and commitments can be observed,” Hazée said in a commission of the Walloon parliament. “That’s also the case when one sees that the Government is tightening the screws on public…

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The Flemish government comes up with a budget agreement

The Flemish government comes up with a budget agreement

The Flemish government reached an agreement on the 2018 budget in the early hours of Sunday morning. The Minister-President Geert Bourgeois will give the Flemish Parliament a preview of the content during his annual September statement on Monday. The agreement is expected to include an alternative to the energy tax, which is better known as the Turteltaks. This tax of 100 euros per year, created to cover the cost of green certificates, was scrapped by the Constitutional Court. Just before the summer, Flemish Minister Bart Tommelein (Open Vld) said that…

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European Commission reflects on predictability of flexible jobs

European Commission reflects on predictability of flexible jobs

The European Commission is working to revise its Written Statement Directive, which gives workers starting out on new jobs the right to be informed in writing on key aspects of their employment. It is also thinking of injecting “a dose of predictability” for those doing flexible jobs. The European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Marianne Thyssen of Belgium, said on Monday that she aimed to have the new directive on the table by the end of this year. She said she would first consult the social partners, but…

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EU closes excessive deficit procedure against Greece

EU closes excessive deficit procedure against Greece

The European Union (EU) announced on Monday that it was closing the excessive deficit procedure it had imposed on Greece since 2009, thus rewarding the country for its efforts to reform its economy. Three countries – France, Spain and the United Kingdom – remain under the excessive deficit procedure, down from 24 in 2011. An excessive deficit procedure enables the European Commission to place under surveillance any country that fails to respect the EU’s convergence criteria. They can ultimately receive fines, but, for now, that has never happened. The Commission…

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Affected Ryanair passengers can lodge complaints – Minister Bellot

Affected Ryanair passengers can lodge complaints – Minister Bellot

Reacting to plans by the low-cost carrier, Ryanair, to cut at least 2,000 flights by the end of October, the Minister of Mobility, François Bellot, and the Mobility Federal Public Service (FPS) recalled on Friday that affected passengers could file complaints with the Department. Contacting Ryanair is, however, the first step to take. “Since 2005, for any means of travel whatsoever, passengers’ rights are in force throughout the European Union,” the Minister and the Department recalled. “In our country, the Mobility and Transport FPS monitors the rights of passengers and…

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Theresa May asks EU for two-year Brexit transition period

Theresa May asks EU for two-year Brexit transition period

Speech calling for a pause to full exit until 2021 described as ‘constructive’ by Michel Barnier, the bloc’s chief negotiator. Theresa May has proposed delaying a full Brexit until 2021 by asking EU countries to agree to a two-year transition period during which the UK would continue to enjoy unfettered access to the single market. The prime minister said the government would be prepared to accept EU rules in that time, including allowing EU citizens to live and work in Britain, submitting to European laws and continuing to pay into…

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Car-emissions fraud: 11.000 Volkswagen owners join Test-Achats lawsuits

Car-emissions fraud: 11.000 Volkswagen owners join Test-Achats lawsuits

About 11,000 owners of Volkswagen vehicles have joined proceedings initiated by Test-Achats consumer association against the carmakers for equipping its cars with systems enabling them to beat anti-pollution tests. Hearings to determine whether the proceedings can be admitted should be held in late October. While US consumers can receive up to 10,000 dollars in compensation, nothing of the sort has been granted to European consumers. Finding this unacceptable, Test-Achats launched a class action suit on 15 June 2016 against Volkswagen and D’Ieteren, which imports vehicles from the German carmarker into…

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Belgian exports to Britain down to 2013 level

Belgian exports to Britain down to 2013 level

The value of Belgian exports to the United Kingdom, expressed in euros, has fallen to its September 2013 level after peaking in February at its highest level since January 2012, according to the latest monitoring report from Federal Directorate of the Economy, Planning Bureau and National Bank, quoted by Minister of the Economy, Kris Peeters. Uncertainty around the British exit from the European Union, Brexit, has already sparked a certain nervousness and has economic consequences, the Deputy Prime Minister, said. British Prime Minister Theresa May was scheduled to deliver a…

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Almost all products contaminated with Fipronil have been withdrawn

Almost all products contaminated with Fipronil have been withdrawn

The Agency for Food Chain Safety (“the AFSCA”) has currently carried out 3,085 checks in Belgium’s distribution sector. This follows the contamination of eggs with Fipronil, discovered at the beginning of June. This update has been confirmed by the agency in a communiqué on Thursday. These checks showed that in 99% of cases, the products requiring withdrawal had been removed from the shelves. Around 20 offences have been picked up. The AFSCA says that a report was prepared for each offence and all such offences have been followed up. Moreover…

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European Muslims have more confidence in democracy than their fellow Europeans

European Muslims have more confidence in democracy than their fellow Europeans

European Muslims have more confidence in institutional democracy than the European average. Moreover, more than three-quarters feel a strong attachment to the country in which they live. This emerges from a study by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (“EUFRA”). Last year, the organisation questioned more than 10,500 Muslim immigrants belonging to first and second generation groupings, originally from Turkey, Africa and Asia living in fifteen European Union countries. The Director of the EUFRA, Michael O’Flaherty, stressed, “The results of our survey entirely undermine the credibility of the assertion that Muslims…

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