Excise, attacks affect champagne exports to Belgium

Excise, attacks affect champagne exports to Belgium

Higher excise duties, a depressed hotel, restaurant and café sector, and terror attacks had an impact on champagne sales to Belgium last year, the Benelux Champagne Bureau said on Monday at the Belgian Day of Champagne Wines, organized in La Côte. The number of bottles sent to Belgium decreased by 9% last year, amounting to 8,331,410. Belgium, the sixth largest champagne market in the world, accounted for just 5.57% of exports. It still remains an important market, even if it was surpassed by Japan in 2016. The number of bottles…

Read More

EU leaders plan to cut funding to Turkey

EU leaders plan to cut funding to Turkey

Several heads of state and government at the European Summit held in Brussels have asked the European Commission to reallocate funding related to the accession negotiations with Turkey. They want accession assistance to be conditional on respect of the rule of law and human rights. About € 4.4 billion has been earmarked between 2014 and 2020 for Turkey´s accession process. Since the failed military coup last year and the severe repression that followed, relations between EU and Ankara are tense. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a press conference at…

Read More

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont ignores Madrid’s ultimatum

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont ignores Madrid’s ultimatum

Puigdemont refuses to clarify whether he has actually declared independence and reiterates his call for talks. The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, has refused to clarify whether he declared Catalonia’s independence from Spain last week, but has repeated his calls for negotiations with the Madrid government to resolve the country’s ongoing political crisis. His appeal came hours before Spain’s national court denied bail to two Catalan pro-independence leaders, who are being investigated for alleged sedition in the run-up to the regional independence referendum two weeks ago. Although Puigdemont signed a unilateral…

Read More

Journalist succeeds in penetrating largest arms depot in Belgium

Journalist succeeds in penetrating largest arms depot in Belgium

The VTM journalist, Faroek Özgünes, was able to enter the proof house for firearms in Liège unhindered. The depot in particular contained Kalashnikovs and automatic weapons of war. The TV channel sees it as demonstrating the lack of security in the most significant arms depot in the country. The proof house has around 10,000 weapons, including shotguns, light weapons, Kalashnikovs and automatic weapons of war. This is also the only body in Belgium for testing weapons, whether produced in the country or imported. The proof house for firearms remains responsible…

Read More

How to improve audit quality in EU

How to improve audit quality in EU

International regulators and EU experts explored the challenges for the audit profession at a recent roundtable on professional scepticism in Brussels. The roundtable was arranged by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), a global body for professional accountants. According to ACCA the issue of professional scepticism in audit remains a critical area, especially since the global financial crisis when audit firms overlooked errors and misstatements in the financial statements of companies and banks. “Professional scepticism is about asking ourselves ‘how do we know and how can we be so…

Read More

Company cars cause loss of €2 billion in tax revenue

Company cars cause loss of €2 billion in tax revenue

Company cars are costing €2 billion in lost state revenue. This emerges from a study produced by the Brussels Studies centre, the results of which were published in Le Soir on Wednesday. By comparison, this total equates to half of the overall budget for the present RER project. Despite low official figures across the Belgian system for company cars, the study assesses the fleet using various indices, and considers the budget impact of the policy favouring the use of the company car. According to these estimates, a car of reasonable…

Read More

Catalonia: Charles Michel continues to condemn violence and deny crisis with Spain

Catalonia: Charles Michel continues to condemn violence and deny crisis with Spain

The Prime Minister, Charles Michel, continued to call for dialogue between the Spanish government and the Catalan authorities. In addition he condemned all forms of violence. This came at his arrival at the summit of the heads of state and government of the 28 EU countries. He denied that there was a crisis between Spain and Belgium. He indicated to Belgian journalists, “There is no incident and no crisis. There is simply a media drama on the basis of ideas which I argue in favour of and I assume responsibility…

Read More

Emmanuel Macron claims in TV interview: ‘I am not cut off’

Emmanuel Macron claims in TV interview: ‘I am not cut off’

French president went on live primetime TV to deny disdain for working class and to explain ‘macronism’ to suspicious voters. The French president Emmanuel Macron has angrily denied he was cut off from real life or held working-class people in disdain in his first live primetime interview after five months in power. Macron organised the rare TV appearance on Sunday night in part to counter the damaging image among his critics that he was a “president for the rich” who cares more about the wealthy than the struggling. On air,…

Read More

Better self-employed insurance company sickness benefits

Better self-employed insurance company sickness benefits

On Thursday, the cabinet approved the granting of insurance company sickness benefits for the self-employed after two weeks of sickness. This was announced by the Minister for Social Affairs and the Minister for the Self-employed, Maggie De Block and Denis Ducarme. Currently, when a self-employed person falls ill and has to stop work, he must support himself and his needs for a month. This is because he only has the right to sickness benefits paid by his insurance company, after this deadline, also known as the waiting period. These two…

Read More

Brabant killings – investigators are looking into a deceased ex-gendarme from the Diane Group

Brabant killings – investigators are looking into a deceased ex-gendarme from the Diane Group

A former gendarme from the specialist unit known as the Diane Group is a person of interest for investigators looking into the Brabant killings. The individual died two years ago. La Dernière Heure and Het Laatste Nieuws reported on this story on Saturday. La Dernière Heure revealed the ex-Gendarme was extremely tall, and the word “giant” was used to describe the person responsible for the killings. The former gendarme was kicked out of the Diane Group a little before the killings. An injury to his foot stopped him from working…

Read More