“People who slog it out day in day out want a wage rise”

“People who slog it out day in day out want a wage rise”

The socialist trade union has warmed Belgian workers that in the next two years there is hardly any scope for wage increases. ABVV blames Belgium’s increasingly high inflation figure that together with the index mechanism is making Belgian labour more expensive than in neighbouring countries. The union adds that such a situation is unacceptable and could lead to social unrest. In the next two months employers and unions will get together to decide how much scope there is for wages to rise in addition to the regular index rises that…

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Frans Timmermans launches campaign to become next Commission President

Frans Timmermans launches campaign to become next Commission President

The current First Vice-President of the European Commission was in a combative mood when he addressed his fellow members of the Party of European Socialists (PES) at a meeting on Monday at the Committee of Regions. A member of the Dutch Labour Party, he has become the designated lead candidate or Spitzenkandidat for European Commission President of PES, the main party of the political party group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D). The official confirmation of his candidature will take place at the PES congress on 7…

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No goals, but plenty to talk about in Ghent

No goals, but plenty to talk about in Ghent

In a match in which the video referee played a crucial role AA Gent and RFC Antwerp shared the points. The result sees Antwerp move up to second place, just four points behind the league leaders KRC Genk. Both teams produced some enjoyable football. Antwerp took command early on but AA Gent gradually redressed the balance. An effort by AA Gent’s Tsjakvetadze resulted in a great double save by the Antwerp keeper Bolat. The Buffaloes thought that they had scored. However, the match referee ruled that the ball had not…

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De Lijn could be back at North station soon following talks

De Lijn could be back at North station soon following talks

The Flemish public transport authority De Lijn is close to reaching an agreement with the Brussels Region to return to its old terminus under the Gare du Nord in Brussels, after “constructive talks” between the two parties. However, a spokesperson for De Lijn denied a report in Le Soir newspaper that the return could take place as early as Friday. The report was sourced to “well-placed Brussels sources”. A spokesperson for De Lijn itself, however, said, “If there is a change, it will not be from one day to the…

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Postage stamps to go up in price

Postage stamps to go up in price

The price of a normal postage stamp will go up on 1 January to 95 cents, an increase of 9.5%. The old priority stamp is reintroduced, at a cost of one euro per stamp. The increase was proposed by Bpost, and has now been approved by the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications, the official regulator. The priority stamps are being relaunched, and will now carry a barcode allowing them to be automatically separated in sorting centres. The stamp guarantees delivery on the next working day. Non-priority post costs…

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New €474 million co-operation package for Afghanistan

New €474 million co-operation package for Afghanistan

The European Commission has today announced a financial package worth €474 million to support state building and public sector reforms, health, justice, and elections, as well as to address migration and displacement challenges in Afghanistan. Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, made the announcement today at the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, signing the financing agreements with the Afghan Minister of Finance Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi*. Commissioner Mimica said: “The EU stands side by side with Afghanistan and its people to build a stronger future for the country. The EU’s…

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Memories from WW1 discussed and exhibited in Brussels

Memories from WW1 discussed and exhibited in Brussels

The First World War did not end all wars. The armistice 100 years ago sowed the seeds of next world war. The war retributions imposed by the allied powers on Germany and Germany´s stab-in-the-back myth, blaming the defeat on the Jews, would lead to next war and the Holocaust. From a life-saving bible and a hand-carved violin to handwritten letters from the trenches, the personal stories and objects of European soldiers and their families will be given new life at an event with roundtable discussions on 27 – 28 November…

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Free buses in Brussels for Sunday’s climate march

Free buses in Brussels for Sunday’s climate march

The Brussels Interurban Transport Company (STIB) will offer its buses and trains free of charge on Sunday to encourage and facilitate the broadest participation possible in the “Claim the Climate” march in Brussels, the regional public transport company announced on Monday in a press release. The STIB recalled that the Climate Coalition, linking more than 70 Belgian civil-society organisations, and the Climate Express citizens’ movement are organising the Claim the Climate march on Sunday 2 December. The demonstration is being held on the margin of the opening of the COP24…

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Shares rally as Italy edges away from Brussels budget clash

Shares rally as Italy edges away from Brussels budget clash

Italy has shown the first signs of backing away from a budget clash with Brussels, sparking a share rally in Rome. On a day when equities rose across the globe, tentative signs of progress in negotiations between the European commission and Italy’s populist leaders resulted in the key barometer of the Italian stock market rising by almost 3%. Bank shares – seen as particularly vulnerable in the event of a loss of confidence in Italian assets triggered by a prolonged confrontation – were up by 5% on Monday. Reports that…

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De Block ready to scrap social security advantages for pro footballers

De Block ready to scrap social security advantages for pro footballers

Federal health minister Maggie De Block is reported to be considering scrapping social security advantages granted to professional football players, following the continuing revelations of corruption and match-fixing in the investigation known as Footgate or Operation Clean Hands (a reference to the Italian operation Mani Pulite against the Mafia in the 1990s). First-class football clubs make a substantial saving every year on reductions of social security contributions (RSZ), worth a total of €7o million a year, as well as cuts in corporation charges worth another €57 million. The latter concession…

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