Princess Astrid accompanies 200 Belgian companies on the Ivory Coast

Princess Astrid accompanies 200 Belgian companies on the Ivory Coast

Princess Astrid will accompany a Belgian trade delegation to the Ivory Coast. Representatives of more than 200 companies will be travelling over, together with the Walloon and Flemish trade ministers, Pierre-Yves Jeholet (MR) and Philippe Muyters (New Flemish Alliance), the Brussels Secretary of State for Trade, Cécile Jodogne (Défi), the Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Pieter De Crem (CD&V), and the federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders (MR). From Sunday to Thursday, 214 Belgian business leaders will be on a trade mission with Princess Astrid and political representatives…

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The cost of Brussels bottlenecks is more than €100 million

The cost of Brussels bottlenecks is more than €100 million

Experts from the office of the federal Minister for the Economy, Kris Peeters (CD&V), have assessed the bill for bottlenecks in Brussels at more than €100 million. Experts based their findings upon recent calculations and figures (2016) both established and supplied by various business organisations, such as Agoria and Beci. The congestion costs are calculated thus: time lost owing to transport issues (8,960,000 hours for 400,000 vehicles on average on the road each day in Brussels). This figure is then multiplied by the value of the time lost to businesses…

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Belgium will not meet EU’s budgetary requirements in 2018

Belgium will not meet EU’s budgetary requirements in 2018

Belgium is expected to provide only half of the budgetary effort required by the European Commission in 2018, the business newspaper L´Echo reported on Wednesday. In its draft budgetary plan submitted to the European authorities, the Belgian government states that the country’s structural balance should reach -1.1% of GDP in 2017 and -0.8% of GDP in 2018. This is an improvement by only 0.3% of GDP, half of what the Commission expects. The European Commission is requiring an improvement in the structural balance by at least 0.6% of GDP per…

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Trump heralds $2.4bn sale of F16 fighter jets to debt-laden Greece

Trump heralds $2.4bn sale of F16 fighter jets to debt-laden Greece

President says potential deal will generate thousands of US jobs as he praises Greece’s economic recovery during visit by Alexis Tsipras to White House. President Donald Trump reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to Greece’s economic recovery at the White House on Tuesday, a meeting that allowed the country’s prime minister to brush aside rough comments he made about Trump during the 2016 campaign. Trump, with prime minister Alexis Tsipras, said Greece had “gone through a lot” during its extended period of economic hardships but vowed that the US would remain…

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Directors for Belgium’s public nuclear waste entity paid up to €24,500 for one meeting in four years

Directors for Belgium’s public nuclear waste entity paid up to €24,500 for one meeting in four years

Some ONDRAF directors, the public entity which manages nuclear waste in Belgium, were paid despite non-attendance at meetings. One of two only attended a single board meeting in four years but received €24,500. This was reported on Saturday in Het Laatste Nieuws and De Morgen. Hugues Latteur, who sat as an Ecolo deputy in the Brussels government in 2006, had thus attended none of the meetings between 2014 and 2016, and only a single meeting in 2017. However he earned €6,000 a year in lump-sum payments. He explained, “I found…

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Ukrainian corrupt officials: “We’re in the army now!”

Ukrainian corrupt officials: “We’re in the army now!”

High-ranking officials of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine were arrested and charged for corruption and machinations in the acquisition of military hardware for the Ukrainian army. The leadership of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) is conducting an investigation against several high-standing officials of the Ministry of Defense. The main suspect is Deputy Minister of Defense General Ihor Pavlovskiy. Detectives gathered evidence of fraud in the process of holding tenders for the acquisition of fuel for the needs of the army. In particular, one and the same company…

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Instant payments possible in Belgium from November 2018

Instant payments possible in Belgium from November 2018

From November 2018, Belgian consumers will be able to make instant payments, thus “rapidly and continuously, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including public holidays.” Febelfin (the Belgian financial sector federation) indicated this on Thursday in a communiqué. The money will reach the payee’s account in a few seconds, even if the latter’s account is with another bank. However, the Belgian financial sector federation has not stated which banks in Belgium will be in a position to offer this service from its first day of operation. The spokeswoman…

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European battery alliance launched in Brussels

European battery alliance launched in Brussels

The European Commission hosted auto, chemical and engineering executives in Brussels yesterday (11 October) to develop battery manufacturing in the EU to compete with Asian and US manufacturers. German chemical group BASF, automakers Renault and Daimler and engineering firm Siemens were among those invited to the gathering in Brussels yesterday (11 October). The initiative, which could lead to an Airbus-style consortium for battery production in Europe, was launched by Maroš Šefčovic, EU Commission Vice-President in charge of the Energy Union. “The lack of a domestic, European cell manufacturing base jeopardises…

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UK and EU formally inform WTO of post-Brexit tariff quota plan

UK and EU formally inform WTO of post-Brexit tariff quota plan

London and Brussels press ahead with proposal already rejected by US and other World Trade Organisation members. Britain and the EU have formally informed members of the World Trade Organisation how they plan to split up the EU’s tariff quotas and farm subsidies after Brexit in a plan already rejected by the White House. In a joint letter, the two parties, who are involved in intense negotiations over Britain’s departure from the EU, said they had come to an agreement on a key aspect of trading relationships with the rest…

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Palestinian school financed by Belgium named after terrorist

Palestinian school financed by Belgium named after terrorist

A Palestinian girls’ school financed by Belgian cooperation has been named after a terrorist, prompting the Government to suspend its support to all school-related projects in the Palestinian territories, various Flemish newspapers reported on Tuesday. The Beit Awwa Basic Girls’ School was built on the West Bank of the River Jordan in 2013. It was later renamed the Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School without the knowledge of the Belgian authorities. Mughrabi was a Palestinian militant involved in an attack near Tel Aviv in 1978. The name change has not found favour…

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