Employment office overpaid railway workers for years

Employment office overpaid railway workers for years

Belgium’s National Employment Office, ONEM, has found that, for years, the three companies of the national railway group, SNCB, violated social laws due to a miscalculation of the hours employees with 4/5th-time contracts were required to work. This led ONEM to give workers of the three companies – SNCB, Infrabel and HR Rail – higher compensatory allowances than it should have. According to the various officials concerned, the violation was committed unknown to them, L’Echo newspaper reported. ONEM confirmed to L’Echo that it has sent a letter to HR Rail…

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Imposition of VAT on legal assistance postponed again

Imposition of VAT on legal assistance postponed again

A 21% value-added tax (VAT) will not be applied to free legal assistance before the 1st of July 2018, the Society of French- and German-speaking Bars in Belgium, OBFG, stated on Tuesday. This is the third time that the measure, which was to have been adopted on the 1st of April 2017, has been postponed.The VAT was to have been applied to free legal aid from the 1st of January 2018 prior to the latest postponement, which has been welcomed by the new head of the OBFG, Alexandre Gillain. However,…

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The ban on smoking in schools will apply to the whole of Flanders

The ban on smoking in schools will apply to the whole of Flanders

When the next school year starts, smoking will no longer be allowed on school premises 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This was announced by the Flemish government. It was among the measures drawn up during a huge Minister’s meeting which took up most of Friday evening and the early hours of Saturday. Currently, the smoking ban applies to all school premises and those used for extra-curricular activities. For open areas like playgrounds, the ban applies on weekdays from 6:30 to 18:30. “A total ban will reinforce the…

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EU audit: Reconstructing failing banks still work in progress

EU audit: Reconstructing failing banks still work in progress

A new audit report published last week by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) concludes that the special board set up by EU to reconstruct failing banks is still very much work in progress. The Single Resolution Board was established in 2015 in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and is considered a key element in the European Banking Union. Its main mission is to resolve failing banks with as little impact as possible on the financial stability and real economy of euro area Member States and others. The…

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Uberpop: the Uber taxi service is taken to court in Brussels

Uberpop: the Uber taxi service is taken to court in Brussels

The Brussels Council Chamber has recently referred the Uber taxi service to the Service Correctional Tribunal for its former Uberpop service. This service allowed non-professional drivers to work in the capital using their personal vehicle between February 2014 and October 2015. The story was reported by De Tijd and L’Echo. The Brussels Mobility Minister Pascal Smet (sp.a) submitted a penal complaint at the end of 2014. The Prosecutor’s office drew up a final requisition that sided with Uber due to lack of proof. However the Council Chamber found enough evidence…

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King Philippe gives his Christmas speech – “dare to wonder, rise above threats and cynicism”

King Philippe gives his Christmas speech – “dare to wonder, rise above threats and cynicism”

Dare to look at the world in “another light”, choose “creative wonderment”, which is an antidote to cynicism. It also allows commitment to “the future of our democracies”. This is the message King Philippe gave during his Christmas speech on Sunday. The Head of State does not want to negate “the personal difficulties we face, the uncertainty of today’s world and the threats to global stability”. But he thinks it’s necessary “to dare to see things in another light, one that goes beyond what is missing, what is wrong: one…

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FBI investigates Cyprus bank accused of money laundering

FBI investigates Cyprus bank accused of money laundering

Request for financial information may be connected to inquiries into possible conspiracy between Trump and Kremlin. The FBI has asked officials in Cyprus for financial information about a defunct bank that was used by wealthy Russians with political connections and has been accused by the US government of money laundering, two sources have told the Guardian. The request for information about FBME Bank comes as Cyprus has emerged as a key area of interest for Robert Mueller, the US special counsel who is investigating a possible conspiracy between Donald Trump’s…

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François Bellot agrees with Alexander De Croo on Re-federalising Mobility

François Bellot agrees with Alexander De Croo on Re-federalising Mobility

In an interview published in La Libre Belgique on Saturday, the Federal Mobility Minister François Bellot said regionalising Mobility had been “counter-productive for the Belgian economy”. He joins Open VLD vice-Prime Minister Alexander De Croo’s appeal. “Regionalisation in Belgium severely slows progress. The current Mobility situation is dramatic and holds progress back. It’s awful when I see the energy my cabinet puts into this cooperation every day when it could be focusing on other things”, the MR Minister says. Mr Bellot says the cooperation between the four Mobility Ministers has…

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Bilal El Makhoukhi is still on remand as part of the Brussels attacks

Bilal El Makhoukhi is still on remand as part of the Brussels attacks

There have been further developments in the investigation opened following the Zaventem and Brussels attacks, which took place on March 22nd, 2016. The Brussels Court in Chambers decided, on Thursday, to extend the remand of Bilal El Makhoukhi for a further two months. This was indicated by the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office. Bilal El Makhoukhi is suspected of having supplied logistical assistance to Mohamed Abrini and Osama Krayem. He was accused of taking part in terrorist group activities and aiding and abetting terrorist murders. This is in the context of…

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Euro banks cut UK asset exposure

Euro banks cut UK asset exposure

European banks pared their exposure to Britain in the aftermath of its vote to quit the European Union, slashing their UK assets by $425 billion (€356 billion) in the span of a year. The decline was driven by a 35% drop in derivatives exposures, showing European banks are preparing for the risk that the UK fails to reach an agreement on its future relationship with the bloc before its departure. Banks in the 27 other EU countries had €1.59 trillion in total assets tied to the UK at the end…

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