New provisions oscillate between tolerance and zero tolerance for cannabis

New provisions oscillate between tolerance and zero tolerance for cannabis

The Minister of Justice, Koen Geens, justified through legal requirements the federal government legislating upon cannabis possession. This is contained within a royal decree dated September 6th on psychotropic drugs. In 2004, the Court of Arbitration repealed the legal provisions of the law dated 2003. They partially decriminalised possession for personal use. Two royal decrees passed in the wake of this have since become largely obsolete. The government wished to clarify the position by restoring the spirit of the 2003 reform, which has been partially translated since into a directive…

Read More

Princess Astrid accompanies 200 Belgian companies on the Ivory Coast

Princess Astrid accompanies 200 Belgian companies on the Ivory Coast

Princess Astrid will accompany a Belgian trade delegation to the Ivory Coast. Representatives of more than 200 companies will be travelling over, together with the Walloon and Flemish trade ministers, Pierre-Yves Jeholet (MR) and Philippe Muyters (New Flemish Alliance), the Brussels Secretary of State for Trade, Cécile Jodogne (Défi), the Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Pieter De Crem (CD&V), and the federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders (MR). From Sunday to Thursday, 214 Belgian business leaders will be on a trade mission with Princess Astrid and political representatives…

Read More

Brussels City Council will open a migrant reception centre

Brussels City Council will open a migrant reception centre

On Monday, Brussels City Council will open a migrant reception and orientation centre, announced Karine Lalieux (PS). She is the Alderwoman for Culture, Tourism, Major Events and Public Property and was speaking on Thursday on BX1. The alderwomen specifically pointed the finger at the federal government “that has done nothing” to welcome migrants in transit in Brussels. Ms Lalieux announced, “Brussels City Council has rented a building from Citydev, at the Decathlon in Evere, to use as a reception and orientation centre.” She said, “This is what the federal government…

Read More

European summit – American isolationism makes European unity more necessary

European summit – American isolationism makes European unity more necessary

Donald Trump and the United States’ position on Iran and North Korea makes European unity “even more necessary”, Emmanuel Macron told the European Council in Brussels on Friday. The French President spoke of his unanimous support from the 28. They are “fully committed to the Iranian nuclear agreement”, which Mr Trump recently criticised. On the 13th of October, the American President refused to “ratify” the agreement, which was drawn up back in 2015. He called for the agreement to be toughened up, and said the United States would withdraw if…

Read More

Belgian planes have dropped 354 bombs against the Islamic State this year

Belgian planes have dropped 354 bombs against the Islamic State this year

The F-16 fighter planes of the Belgian air force are intensifying their raids against the positions of the Islamic State in Iraq. The planes have dropped 354 bombs during the first eight months of the year as part of Operation “Desert Falcon”. This is 84 more than during the whole year of 2016, said Minister of Defense Steven Vandeput (N-VA) in the newspapers Het Belang van Limburg and Het Nieuwsblad today. Belgium is part of the international coalition fighting against the Islamic State since October 2014. The Belgian F-16s deployed…

Read More

Spain to impose direct rule on Catalonia as deadline passes

Spain to impose direct rule on Catalonia as deadline passes

Madrid will press ahead with suspending autonomy on Saturday after Catalan leader refuses to abandon independence push. The Spanish government is to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy and impose direct rule after the region’s president refused to abandon the push for independence that has led to Spain’s biggest political crisis for 40 years. The announcement of the unprecedented measure came after the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, threatened a unilateral declaration of independence if the Spanish government did not agree to talks on the issue. In a letter to the Spanish prime minister,…

Read More

Wallonia grants weapons licenses to Saudi Arabia

Wallonia grants weapons licenses to Saudi Arabia

Minister-President Willy Borsus (MR) has approved 25 weapons licenses to Saudi Arabia and rejected three licenses to the United Arab Emirates and one to Pakistan, La Libre Belgique reported on Wednesday. His spokesperson said that the Wallonian Minister-President had followed the advice of his administration and that of the Wallonia-Brussels International Advisory Committee (WBI). His cabinet stated that the Minister-President has invited the Walloon arms-producing companies to voluntarily draw up and implement a five-year market plan aiming at diversification. In practical terms, the aim is to make Walloon arms companies…

Read More

The cost of Brussels bottlenecks is more than €100 million

The cost of Brussels bottlenecks is more than €100 million

Experts from the office of the federal Minister for the Economy, Kris Peeters (CD&V), have assessed the bill for bottlenecks in Brussels at more than €100 million. Experts based their findings upon recent calculations and figures (2016) both established and supplied by various business organisations, such as Agoria and Beci. The congestion costs are calculated thus: time lost owing to transport issues (8,960,000 hours for 400,000 vehicles on average on the road each day in Brussels). This figure is then multiplied by the value of the time lost to businesses…

Read More

WDP chosen as “Business of the Year” in Flanders

WDP chosen as “Business of the Year” in Flanders

On Tuesday evening, the property company, WDP (Warehouses De Pauw), was voted “Business of the year 2017” (in Flemish “Onderneming van het jaar”). WDP was established in 1971. The company owns, develops and manages more than 3 million metres-squared of semi-industrial and logistical property. This is spread across 160 sites located in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and Romania. It has been listed on Euronext Brussels since 1999, and the Amsterdam Stock Exchange since 2015. In 2016, WDP had a turnover of €142 million with a staff base of 60…

Read More

Francken neglects privacy in asylum policies

Francken neglects privacy in asylum policies

Two opinions, which the newspaper “Le Soir” has had sight of, invite the Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken, to rectify bills which fall within the remit of the harmonisation of European asylum law. These opinions are encouraging the Secretary of State to guarantee respect for privacy. Amongst the measures, approved at parliamentary committee level, features the possibility for authorities to access GSM data or the Facebook profile of an asylum seeker whose application is being processed. Otherwise such individuals may be placed in a so-called “closed…

Read More