A hard Brexit could cost Belgium over 42,000 jobs

A hard Brexit could cost Belgium over 42,000 jobs

A hard Brexit could cause the loss of 42,390 jobs in Belgium, 526,000 in the United Kingdom and 1.2 million in the entire European Union (EU), according to forecasts published on Thursday by economists of the Catholic University of Leuven. The economists, Hylke Vandenbussche, William Connell and Wouter Simons, compared the consequences of “hard” and “soft” Brexits for the labour market. In a “soft” scenario, there would still be no customs tariffs between Britain and the EU, but there would be non-tariff trade barriers, as in the case of a…

Read More

Federal Planning Bureau: points-based pension favours low-income wage earners

Federal Planning Bureau: points-based pension favours low-income wage earners

A study produced by a researcher at the Federal Planning Bureau, which is reported on Thursday by L’Echo and De Tijd, reports that a points-based pension favours low-income wage earners. Although a points-based pension is due to come into operation, it may benefit poorly-skilled wage earners, and particularly women with a modest pension. This is the indication of projections produced by the Federal Planning Bureau. Highly-qualified male wage earners, who are home owners receiving a high pension will lose some of their pension benefits in the reform. The system will…

Read More

Referendum on independence in Iraqi Kurdistan goes ahead without EU support

Referendum on independence in Iraqi Kurdistan goes ahead without EU support

The Kurdish Regional Government in Iraqi Kurdistan is organising a referendum on independence on 25 September. For the Kurds the referendum is a first step towards fulfilling an old dream of national self-determination and a state of their own but Iraq and neighboring countries, with significant Kurdish minorities, oppose the referendum. EU on its part is concerned that the referendum may result in further destabilization of a region already in turmoil after civil wars and the still on-going fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria which have claimed…

Read More

EU-Canada Trade Agreement to enter into effect provisionally on Thursday

EU-Canada Trade Agreement to enter into effect provisionally on Thursday

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union (EU) and Canada, enters into effect provisionally on Thursday, close to a year after being signed by European leaders and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. However, one of its most disputed components, its dispute-resolution mechanism, will have to await ratification by all member States – and in some cases their regional parliaments – before it can become effective. CETA had been signed amid great pomp in Brussels on 30 October 2016 by the chairs of the European Commission, Jean-Claude…

Read More

Unicef Belgium looking for companies for its emergency fund

Unicef Belgium looking for companies for its emergency fund

UNICEF-Belgium wishes to consolidate a 300,000-euro emergency fund so as to be ready whenever a critical situation arises. To replenish the fund, it hopes to rely on 30 companies and bring together the various stakeholders, UNICEF-Belgium said on Wednesday in a press release. The initiative is supported by the Federation of Enterprises of Belgium (FEB). Seventy years after its creation, the UN Children’s Fund’s reason for existing remains just as strong. Today, 535 million children live in areas affected by emergencies. Whether suffering from starvation in the Horn of Africa,…

Read More

Europe working on common cybersecurity agency

Europe working on common cybersecurity agency

The European Union (EU) is working on the creation of an agency that will be tasked with helping member States to prevent and adequately react to cyberattacks. The European Commission presented details of the proposal on Tuesday. The EU also plans to establish a certification system to guarantee the digital safety of goods and services. In his state of the union address last week, Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker had noted that Europe was not adequately protected against cyberattacks. Some 4,000 such attacks per day were registered in 2016. Eighty percent…

Read More

“The unemployed over 50 will not all be spared”

“The unemployed over 50 will not all be spared”

Some unemployed, who are over 50, will be greatly affected by the federal government’s pension reforms. The FGTB (Socialist trade union) said on Monday that this will in particular be the case for three categories. These are the unemployed over 50, who have worked for more than 45 years, those taking early retirement having worked for more than 45 years, and a large proportion of those over 50 taking early retirement. It is worth noting that the federal government had put forward the idea that some pensions could be reduced,…

Read More

Test-Achats puts Ryanair on notice for cancellations

Test-Achats puts Ryanair on notice for cancellations

The Belgian consumer protection organization, Test-Achats, said on Monday that it had formally placed Ryanair on notice for failing to fulfil its obligations to passengers affected by the cancellation of some of its flights. The Irish low-cost airline announced on Friday that it was cancelling 40 to 50 flights per day up to the end of October due to a problem with the programming of its pilots’ holidays. “In this chaotic context, the Irish company is not correctly informing passengers of their rights,” Test-Achats said. “It is only offering them…

Read More

Belgium to double its investments in humanitarian innovation in 2018

Belgium to double its investments in humanitarian innovation in 2018

Belgium will double total investment in humanitarian innovation next year, bringing the amount to €20 million. This was announced on Monday evening by the Minister for Development Cooperation, Alexander De Croo, during a speech at the University of New York. Mr De Croo commented, “Every year, humanitarian needs increase, and humanitarian crises and conflicts take increasingly more victims. However, only one percent of actual humanitarian financial resources are allocated to humanitarian innovation and research. That has to change.” The minister’s intervention was part of Global Citizen Live, an event organised…

Read More

Kickstart for project to better tax internet giants in the EU

Kickstart for project to better tax internet giants in the EU

A project to better tax internet giants, led by France, Spain, Italy and Germany, got a kick-start via a meeting between the EU Finance Ministers in Tallinn. It has been met with resistance by some members, including Ireland. Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – often grouped together under the acronym GAFA – are regularly accused of tax evasion through financial arrangements that reduce the amount of tax they pay. In this digital age, “the current tax system does not work, and that’s why we have to find another solution”, says…

Read More