Belgium in Brief: The Consultative Committee's last waltz?

Belgium in Brief: The Consultative Committee's last waltz?
Credit: Canva, Belga

Here we go again: after three postponements Belgium's Consultative Committee is back with a bang. Ok, this isn't the return of your favourite band whose show was pushed back on countless occasions, but at the height of the country's Covid crisis, the Consultative Committee was a Friday staple that dominated media channels.

Sure, it inevitably ran late into the evening, prolonging the working week. But with the speculation about rule changes in the run-up, the furore when this was leaked, and the controversy that each new raft of public health measures sparked, the meetings had many of the hallmarks of the Christmas special for the nation's favourite sitcom.

There is almost a reluctance to put it to bed once and for all, with health experts eager to remind us that Covid is not over and we should remain on guard. And though the figures show that Covid is indeed still around, public consensus is that (at least for now) we've had enough of the whole malarkey.

Like a TV network keen to milk a concept for every last drop, Belgium has now copied the GEMS (panel of health experts that advise on public health policy) format but for the economy. But like so many second series, the spin-off has yet to capture public interest.

Many are hoping that today will mark an end to the mask mandate on public transport and obligations will almost certainly become "recommendations". This would be widely supported, not only by a fed-up public but by politicians as well (they're human after all).

But underlying the changes to health measures is a more fundamental question: Will this be the last Consultative Committee? Let @Orlando_tbt know.

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

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Families in Belgium will start receiving the first checks from the government to ease the burden of their energy bills this week. Read more.

2. What’s on the table of the Consultative Committee today?

After the meeting was postponed three times in the past two months, Belgium’s Consultative Committee will finally meet on Friday to discuss what to do with the last remaining Covid-19 restrictions still in force. Read more.

3. Two cases of monkeypox confirmed in Belgium

Two cases of the monkeypox virus, which is advancing in Europe, have been detected in Belgium. Read more.

4. Brussels Government to make buying a primary residence cheaper

The Brussels-Capital Regional Government on Thursday approved a preliminary draft ordinance that will make the purchasing of a primary residence in the region cheaper from a tax point of view. Read more.

5. 9 local flea markets to visit in Brussels this weekend

Seasonal flea markets are making their way back to Brussels streets as summer is unfolding, with plenty of vendors gathering in the city to sell previously-owned charms. Read more.

6. Code orange for thunderstorms extended to Brussels

The Royal Meteorological Institute (KMI) has extended the code orange warning for thunderstorms and intense rain expected on Friday to Brussels. Read more.

7. Hidden Belgium: Borgerhub

It used to be the local law courts. But the lawyers and judges have moved on from the monumental 19th-century courthouse on Antwerp’s Turnhoutsebaan. Read more.


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