Municipal votes of Brussels periphery: French-speaking vote 62.4% in 2014

Municipal votes of Brussels periphery: French-speaking vote 62.4% in 2014

The French-speaking presence in municipalities within the Brussels Periphery is such that 62.4% of electors voting in 2014 for Brussels City Council were in favour of a French-speaking list. The statistics are derived from a study by the Centre Vives (part of the KU Leuven). This study is reported on Wednesday in Le Soir. The share of party votes on French-speaking lists comprises votes in the six municipalities (Crainhem, Wezembeek-Oppem, Rhode Saint-Genèse, Linkebeek, Drogenbos, and Wemmel) for the Brussels area. Overall, the French-speaking vote is more significant in Linkebeek and…

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GIAL: Opposition groups in Brussels Council want new audit, special commission

GIAL: Opposition groups in Brussels Council want new audit, special commission

Opposition councillors want fast access to a series of documents related to the management of GIAL, the non-profit association in charge of information technology and office management for the Brussels Communal Council, starting with audits conducted since 2000. The councillors, from the Ecolo-Groen (ecologists), DéFI [Democratic, Federalist, Independent] and Humanist Democratic Centre (cdH) parties also want a new audit on GIAL’s operations, plus hearings within a special commission. These are the main demands listed in a draft motion that they will table together at a meeting of the Communal Council…

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Brussels Mayor wants end to third-sector management agreements with Brussels City Council

Brussels Mayor wants end to third-sector management agreements with Brussels City Council

On Wednesday, the Socialist Mayor of Brussels City Council, Philippe Close, gave his reaction in La Libre Belgique and La Dernière Heure to the recent stir around the Brussels based non-profit organisation GIAL. He believes that the problem resides within the practice of “executing management agreements with the CEO of the board of the third sector organisation.” He stresses that this is a practice which he says should, “now stop at Brussels City Council”, and which in the meantime has moreover stopped within GIAL, “where a particular civil servant” reached…

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The Treasury Select Committee has launched a probe into cryptocurrencies

The Treasury Select Committee has launched a probe into cryptocurrencies

The Treasury Select Committee will today launch an inquiry into cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and distributed ledger technology as it aims to walk the line between regulating digital currencies and supporting innovation. MPs will examine the role of digital currencies in the UK, including the risks they pose to consumers, business and the government. They will also look into the potential impact of the blockchain on financial institutions, including the Bank of England, and financial infrastructure. “People are becoming increasingly aware of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, but they may not be…

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Parliamentarians urge EU to become more transparent

Parliamentarians urge EU to become more transparent

Three Dutch parliamentarians sent Monday a glass box containing recommendations to make the EU more transparent to Eurogroup President Mário Centeno. An explanatory letter was also sent to the presidents of the various European institutions. The letter was also signed by two Belgians: MP Peter Luyks (N-VA) and Senate President Christine Defraigne (MR). Centeno chaired yesterday the Eurogroup meeting in Brussels with the 19 finance ministers in the euro area. In the second part of the meeting, the ministers of 27 EU member states participated. National parliaments complain that the…

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Well-being of Belgians down over the last decade

Well-being of Belgians down over the last decade

The overall well-being of Belgians fell between 2005 and 2016 according to a study by the Federal Planning Bureau. The bureau attributes the decline to a deterioration in the health status of Belgians. “One likely explanation to this deterioration is that the economic crisis has had a negative impact on mental health,” says the Planning Bureau. In Belgium, both mental and physical health are important factors of well-being, according to the bureau. The Wellbeing Here and Now Indicator (BEIM) was constructed after identifying the main determinants of well-being in Belgium…

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Employers commit to employment diversity

Employers commit to employment diversity

The employers’ organisations, representing small businesses and given sectors, being Beci, the FBB, the UCM, the UWE, the Voka, the Unizo, the Unisoc and the Boerenbond are taking action on diversity. They jointly launched, on Tuesday, the first phase of an inter-professional plan aiming for greater workplace diversity. The objective of this initiative is to “demonstrate to companies the positive benefits of a voluntary diversity policy.” These employers’ organisations say that Belgium “has nothing to be ashamed of regarding diversity” with one of “the lowest [wage gaps between men and…

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Bialowieza Forest: Poland infringes European law

Bialowieza Forest: Poland infringes European law

Poland is infringing European law on the protection of natural sites by ordering logging in the Bialowieza Forest, one of the last primeval forests in Europe. The Judge-Advocate General made this ruling, in the European Court of Justice, on Tuesday. The judge’s conclusions which are generally followed by the ECJ, held that the logging ordered by the Polish government on health grounds are unjustified, and are likely to simply “damage” the reproduction sites of protected species. In November, the ECJ had already prohibited Poland from cutting down trees – unless…

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EU “ready to react” if US imposes trade restrictions

EU “ready to react” if US imposes trade restrictions

The European Union is “ready to react swiftly and appropriately” if the United States takes trade measures that would affect European industry, a spokesperson of the European Commission said on Tuesday. “We stand ready to react swiftly and appropriately in case our exports are affected by any restrictive trade measure from the United States,” spokesman Margaritis Schinas said at the Commission’s daily press conference. “We would be taking appropriate measures to defend EU industry,” he stressed, adding however, “we are not in a trade war”. The Trump administration has drawn…

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Next state bonds coupon will be 0.90%, the highest since 09/2015

Next state bonds coupon will be 0.90%, the highest since 09/2015

The next issue of State bonds will be on the 4th of March and will have a coupon of 0.90%, Belgium’s Debt Agency announced on Tuesday. This is the highest rate for the bonds, which mature in 10 years, since the September 2015 issue. The two preceding issues, in December 2017 and September 2017, had had much lower coupons: 0.50% and 0.65% respectively. The period for purchasing the bonds will be from the 22nd of February to the 2nd of March inclusive. Payment will need to be made on Monday…

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