Women’s rugby: European Championship starts on Tuesday

Women’s rugby: European Championship starts on Tuesday

From Tuesday to Saturday, Belgium will host the “Four Nations” European Championships 15-aside women’s rugby tournament. The tournament will be played in both Waterloo and Brussels. The Belgian team is ranked 21st in the world, and is coached by Xavier Bossert and Renaud Labardant. Belgium will play against the Netherlands (which is 14th in the world rankings) in Tuesday’s semi-finals (at 8 p.m.) at the Pachy stadium in Waterloo. Prior to Belgium’s match, the other major clash, at 6 p.m, is the semi-final between Germany (20th in the world) against…

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EU, Mercosur close to trade agreement, EU Commissioner says

EU, Mercosur close to trade agreement, EU Commissioner says

European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said on Monday that the European Union (EU) and Mercosur – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – were very close to a trade agreement whereas the negotiations appeared to have stalled. “We are very close to a deal,” the Swedish commissioner said in response to questions on the state of the talks at a conference with Bulgarian citizens in Sofia. “I think the pending problems can be settled, but I cannot give you a date,” she added. She also said the prospect of elections in…

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Dutch multinationals withdraw financial centres from Belgium

Dutch multinationals withdraw financial centres from Belgium

In recent years, Dutch multinationals such as Heineken, Philips and Unilever have taken their corporate financial centres out of Belgium. Het Financieele Dagblad reports, on its Internet site, that in total more than €20 billion of such companies’ capital (share and other capital excluding debt finance) has been transferred to other locations. The investigation by the Dutch publication indicates that this trend is due to low interest rates. They serve to considerably limit the fiscal advantages derived from the deduction of notional interest. Notional interest was implemented in Belgium to…

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Finance Commission approves “cash for car” bill

Finance Commission approves “cash for car” bill

The Finance Commission of the Chamber of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill on the mobility allowance, also known as ‘Cash for Car’. According to a conservative estimate by Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt, implementing the measure could reduce the number of cars in Belgium by 15,000. He also said an assessment would be conducted. The bill is one of the points on the Federal Government’s Summer Agreement. To fight against vehicle congestion, it offers the possibility to employees who have had company cars for a long time to give…

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FSMA warns against bogus cryptocurrency investment platforms

FSMA warns against bogus cryptocurrency investment platforms

The Financial Services and Markets Authority, FSMA, has warned against platforms proposing investments in crypto-currencies on the World Wide Web, noting that scammers have often been behind these platforms, which have been mushrooming on the Internet in recent weeks. The Authority has already received numerous complaints from consumers who say they never retrieved their funds or that they had had no more news of the so-called investment companies. In such cases, it was purely and simply investment fraud, FSMA said. The Authority called on would-be investors to exercise greater caution…

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Etterbeek: mayor orders arrest of homeless people refusing to take up night-shelter accommodation

Etterbeek: mayor orders arrest of homeless people refusing to take up night-shelter accommodation

On Sunday, Vincent De Wolf, the Mayor of Etterbeek, made a police order imposing administrative arrest for the homeless, who refuse take up winter accommodation when it is offered to them. The Brussels commune states, “The Mayor is legally obliged to guarantee such individuals’ safety, and to offer assistance to those in need.” This exceptional step is being taken at a time when the prospect of temperatures plummeting, as far as -10 degrees Celsius, in the coming days has been announced Mayor De Wolf explains, “The homeless staying outside in…

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Overall rise in cohesion in EU but member states are drifting apart

Overall rise in cohesion in EU but member states are drifting apart

Cohesion is the glue that holds Europe together. If member states are not willing to cooperate and citizens not willing to interact, the European project is in danger. Lack of cohesion undermines EU’s capacity to formulate and implement policies. A recent study on structural and individual cohesion shows interesting but also worrying trends in a ten-year perspective in EU and its member states. The study was presented by Josef Janning, head of the Berlin office of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), at a policy dialogue arranged by the…

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Business confidence in Belgium stable in February

Business confidence in Belgium stable in February

The National Bank of Belgium reported on Thursday in its monthly survey of business conditions that the confidence of business managers remained stable in February. In services, entrepreneurs rated current and future activity levels more positively. In the manufacturing, a moderate rise in the indicator is almost exclusively based on improved employment prospects. In the construction sector, where the economic situation has deteriorated somewhat, the order books have shrunk and the business level is more often the subject of an unfavorable judgment. In addition, demand forecasts have been revised downwards…

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No automaticity in the election of lead candidate to president of the European Commission

No automaticity in the election of lead candidate to president of the European Commission

At the informal meeting of EU leaders in Brussels last Friday an agreement was reached that there is no automaticity in the election of a lead candidate from one of the political party groups in the European Parliament to the post as a president of the European Commission. Before the meeting, the current president, Jean-Claude Juncker, had argued that the so-called Spitzenkandidaten system should be consolidated and strengthened and that the parties should make their choices of lead candidates in good time before the elections in 2019 and before the…

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BAIC and Daimler to Build $1.9 Billion China Plant

BAIC and Daimler to Build $1.9 Billion China Plant

BAIC Motor Corp. and Daimler AG plan to build a new factory in China for Mercedes-Benz vehicles to meet growing demand as the German automaker deepens its ties with the country. The automakers will co-invest more than 11.9 billion yuan ($1.9 billion) to build the facility, BAIC said Sunday in a brief filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange. The statement didn’t disclose the location of the production base. “The new factory will manufacture various Mercedes-Benz products in China including new energy electric vehicles” and improve the overall production capacity…

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