Cost of electricity sky-rocketed in Belgium since market liberalization in 2007: up by over 60%

Cost of electricity sky-rocketed in Belgium since market liberalization in 2007: up by over 60%

Between 2007 — the year of complete liberalization of the energy market — and 2018, the average cost of electricity for a Belgian household (consuming 3,500 kWh per year) increased by 61.59% to 258.63 euros/MWh. This was revealed on Friday by the CREG (Commission for the regulation of energy and gas) in its yearly update on its cost study on electricity and natural gas. Compared to 2017, the increase was by 3.3%. It was in Flanders that the average cost of electricity increased the most since 2007: it more than…

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City makes meat compulsory at vegetarian picnic

City makes meat compulsory at vegetarian picnic

The city fathers of the fair city of Diksmuide (West Flanders) have taken a decision that will spark controversy. The “fair trade picnic” in the town is being obliged to serve meat for a first time. Until now the fair only served vegetarian fare. Burgomaster Lies Laridon believes the order is a statement: “You can do fair trade with meat too. Fair trade is about honest trade, honest trade with the South, but also with local producers. The city authorities believe people should have the choice to eat meat.” The…

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Third cargo handler at Brussels Airport from April

Third cargo handler at Brussels Airport from April

A new cargo handler at Brussels Airport, dnata, has registered its first customer, Singapore Airlines Cargo, and will “formally” start its activities on the 1st of April, its CEO in Belgium said on Monday. In late October, dnata became the third company licensed to handle cargo on flights at the airport, after Aviapartner and Swissport, but did not start operating then. Work still needed to be done on a warehouse where it could stock its goods while waiting to transport them by plane or by truck, and it still had…

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Brussels not popular among companies leaving London due to Brexit

Brussels not popular among companies leaving London due to Brexit

According to figures from the London-based forum and think-tank New Financial, Brussels is only in seventh place when it comes to companies re-locating all or part of their operation from the City of London to another European city as a result of Brexit. Of the 269 financial services companies that have (at least in part) relocated, a large portion have opted to set up shop in the Irish capital Dublin. Just nine companies have come to Brussels so far. This is far fewer than the hundred or so companies that…

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Deliveroo focuses on virtual restaurants this year

Deliveroo focuses on virtual restaurants this year

The Deliveroo online food delivery company expects to have about 60 “virtual restaurants” in Belgium by the end of this year. Virtual restaurants are existing establishments that sell additional dishes under a different name through Deliveroo. There are already 50 such restaurants in Belgium, according to Deliveroo’s Rodolphe Van Nuttel. “It’s realistic to think that by the end of the year there will be about 60,” he said. “This works very well in Belgium.” Deliveroo’s couriers deliver cooked food on bicycles. This year, it is is focussing on “virtual brands”,…

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Volvo to limit speeds on its vehicles to 180 km/h from 2020

Volvo to limit speeds on its vehicles to 180 km/h from 2020

Volvo will equip all its vehicles with speed limiters set at 180 km/h for safety reasons, the Swedish auto manufacturer said. “While a speed limiter is no cure-all, it’s worth doing if we can even save one life,” Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson said. The aim is that no-one should die or be seriously injured in a new Volvo vehicle, he stressed, adding, however, that it would be impossible to reach a zero-casualty rate with technology alone. Volvo is also studying the possibility of making a car slow down automatically on…

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Belgium wants EU to tax airline flight tickets

Belgium wants EU to tax airline flight tickets

Belgium wants its EU partners to introduce a European tax on commercial aviation, Le Soir reports today. It could be on aircraft fuel, currently tax free, or a VAT on airline tickets. This will be discussed at the Council of Environmental Ministers next Tuesday at the request of the new Flemish Environment Minister, Koen Van den Heuvel (CD&V, Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams, or Christian democratic party). Walloon Minister Jean-Luc Crucke (MR, Reformed Movement) will defend the Belgian proposal. In a note to its EU partners, the Belgian delegation recommends “fair and…

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Not everyone in Paris likes Ikea’s hot baths idea

Not everyone in Paris likes Ikea’s hot baths idea

Ikea has decided to install a few hot baths on the quays of the Seine from 1 to 3 March to mark the opening on May 6 of its first store in Paris, but not everyone in the French capital likes the idea. Detractors of the initiative, scheduled for the Quai des Grands-Augustins in the Sixième Arrondissement, include the Groupe écologiste de Paris. “The Parisian public space is not for rent, it belongs to Parisians and not to a few lucky people pulled out of a hat, and even less…

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Breakthrough at Ryanair

Breakthrough at Ryanair

Belgian trades unions have reached a global accord with low cost airline Ryanair. The agreement applies to all staff and comes after two years of wrangling. Industrial action disrupted Ryanair flights during the summer of 2018 and came after thousands of flights had to be cancelled in 2017 due to lack of staff. Ryanair is one of the few success stories in aviation and saw profit margins increase year after year. But pilots and crews were unhappy with working conditions and revolted. After too many pilots left the company Ryanair…

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Pilot project for unmanned ships on Flanders’ inland waterways later this year

Pilot project for unmanned ships on Flanders’ inland waterways later this year

The Flemish Government has agreed to proposals by the Flemish Transport Minister Ben Weyts (Nationalist) for a pilot project that will see unmanned ships sail on our region’s inland waterways in the second half of this year. A pilot project involving a 4.6 metre long self-navigating scale model is already running on the River IJzer in West Flanders. The project is being run by Flemish Waterways, POM West Flanders and Leuven University. The Flemish Government’s decision means that that full-sized self-navigating ships can be tested. The test vessels will be…

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