Christmas tree set up in Brussels Grand Place

Christmas tree set up in Brussels Grand Place

On Friday morning, the Brussels Grand Place welcomed the spruce which was felled the day before in the Eupen region. The Christmas tree, with a height of 22 metres is due to be decorated and then incorporated into the path of light of the Winter Joys. The tree, coming from the public forest of Hertogenwald, arrived around 6 a.m. It has been offered by Wallonia and comes from a sustainable forest (certified under the global PEFC forest management certification system). The Christmas tree will be decorated on Sunday, with garlands…

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Belgian and Spanish prime ministers meet on sidelines of Göteborg summit

Belgian and Spanish prime ministers meet on sidelines of Göteborg summit

The Belgium prime minister, Charles Michel, and the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, met on Friday morning before the social summit in Göteborg (Sweden). The Belgium Prime’s Minister’s entourage has confirmed this. The meeting, lasting around twenty minutes, revolved around London-based European agencies. It included the choice of new cities for such agencies post-Brexit which is due to be made next Monday, around Belgium’s candidacy for Europol and indeed the future of Europe.

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Belgian Fashion Awards: Dries van Noten and Raf Simons win awards

Belgian Fashion Awards: Dries van Noten and Raf Simons win awards

The Fashion Designer Dries Van Noten received the Prix du Jury (“Jury Prize”) with Raf Simons being named “Designer of the Year” at the first Belgian Fashion Awards. The ceremony for this took place on Thursday evening at Antwerp. The Prix du Jury rewards a designer for his entire career. The jury justified “When speaking of Belgian fashion, we immediately think of Dries Van Noten.” The jury itself was made up of Vif Weekend, Knack Weekend, Flanders DC (Flanders District of Creativity), and MAD-Brussels Fashion and Design Platform. “With his…

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Belgium ranks above average in EU social justice index

Belgium ranks above average in EU social justice index

Europe is recovering not only economically, but also in the domain of social justice, according to the EU Social Justice Index 2017 published the Bertelsmann Foundation yesterday. Belgium’s score places it 13th among the countries of the EU. Its performance has remained stable since 2008, the first assessment year. Although far from all EU member states have regained their pre-crisis levels, the most recent index data give cause for hope that the worst is over not just in economic terms, but also from a social perspective, says the report. At…

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EU to push for 40% quota for women on company boards

EU to push for 40% quota for women on company boards

Proposals from European commission would compel businesses to positively discriminate when hiring new executives until quota is reached. The European commission is to push for a quota for women on company boards to address the slow progress to gender equality in the senior ranks of publicly listed businesses. Under the proposals, companies whose non-executive directors are more than 60% male would be required to prioritise women when candidates of equal merit were being considered for a post. Previous attempts by the EU’s executive to set a 40% goal for women…

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Pressure from civil society on better air quality in Brussels

Pressure from civil society on better air quality in Brussels

Brussels Minister of Mobility Pascal Smet welcomed on Monday the call of a hundred doctors to raise the poor quality of the air in Brussels that generates health risks. “These doctors are more than right and we are pleased with this pressure from civil society. We need it since it strengthens us in the policy that we want to lead,” he said. The minister argues that 5.2 billion euros should be invested in the coming years, particularly in the reinforcement of public transport, and that 80 kilometers of separate cycle…

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World’s biggest sovereign wealth fund proposes ditching oil and gas holdings

World’s biggest sovereign wealth fund proposes ditching oil and gas holdings

Energy industry jolted by advice to Norwegian government from its central bank, which runs $1tn fund. The Norwegian central bank, which runs the country’s sovereign wealth fund – the world’s biggest – has told its government it should dump its shares in oil and gas companies, in a move that could have significant consequences for the sector. Norges Bank, which manages Norway’s $1tn fund, said ministers should take the step to avoid the fund’s value being hit by a permanent fall in the oil price. The fund was built on…

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Belgium has poor Internet connection compared to neighbours

Belgium has poor Internet connection compared to neighbours

Belgium is a country with poor Internet connections compared to its neighbours. This is per a UN ranking on countries’ Internet connection ranked from best to worst. In the 2017 ranking, Belgium is in 25th place. The Netherlands are 7th, Luxembourg 9th, Germany 12th and France 15th. Luxembourg has remained stable, other countries have advanced positions and Belgium has fallen two places. The ITU Development Index is based upon the number of landline and mobile telephone contracts, the number of Internet users and other indicators, such as the level of…

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Only 4% of Belgian employees work for 50 hours or more per week

Only 4% of Belgian employees work for 50 hours or more per week

Some 4% of Belgians work for 50 hours or more every week. A new report published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says that both overworking and insecurity on the labour market are relatively low in Belgium. In its report How’s Life? 2017, the OECD compares a series of figures and data from 35 countries. A multitude of aspects are taken into account such as personal security, income and health, jobs and income, work-life balance, education, social networks, environment and other factors. The OECD says that there…

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European Commission continues to monitor governance in Bulgaria and Romania

European Commission continues to monitor governance in Bulgaria and Romania

For 10 years the European Commission has monitored governance in Bulgaria and Romania under the so-called Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM). Yesterday it issued new reports stating that the CVM benchmarks had not yet been satisfactorily met by the two countries. The CVM was set up when Bulgaria and Romania joined EU in 2007 without being completely prepared for membership. If the hopes back then was that the CVM would only last for a few years and push the new member states to comply with all commitments, this has not…

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