Belgium in Brief: Reasons to be cheerful

Belgium in Brief: Reasons to be cheerful
Credit: Belga

It's been a tough two years and recently it feels as if we've been lurching from one painful situation to the next. The uptick in national morale that came with Covid restrictions being lifted was swiftly checked by the eruption of war in Ukraine and headlines are never short of new things to worry about.

Certainly, the impression that disaster lurks at every corner is hard to escape, especially living in times of economic uncertainty, threats to public health, and full-blown conflict. Even for the most peaceable and law-abiding among us, the easy life seems always just out of reach with the knock-on effects inevitably coming for consumers.

Navigating a negative newsfeed calls for stoicism and positivity, an exercise in seeing silver linings when forecasts just show rain. And whilst it is hardly reassuring to live by the motto "It could be worse," now more than ever we see that it really could be.

So whilst you may not find it at your next trip to the supermarket, sometimes the good news hides in the most unlikely of places. Have you checked the weather forecast?

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:

1. Why are prices rising? Europe’s energy crisis explained

There is no getting away from it: energy prices are soaring. The price of natural gas is four times higher than last winter and inflation in the eurozone countries is at a record-high of 5.1% due to 28.6% inflation in the energy sector. Read more.

2. ‘Just the tip of the iceberg’: Nearly 4,000 Brussels families evicted in one year

‘Just the tip of the iceberg’: Nearly 4,000 Brussels families evicted in one year

While detailed information regarding the number of evictions on Brussels has previously been scarce, new research from Bru-Home using data from the courts reveals there were at least 3,908 in 2018, and researchers say this is likely “just the tip of the iceberg.” Read more.

3. Belgium lifts mandatory quarantine after high-risk contact from today

From today (Thursday 17 March), Belgium is lifting the obligation to quarantine for all people who have had a high-risk contact, the Interministerial Conference (IMC) on Health decided last week. Read more.

4. ‘Putin is a psychopath’: War in Ukraine will not end soon, De Wever warns

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not end his country’s invasion of Ukraine, as he is a “psychopath” and a “madman,” according to the mayor of Antwerp Bart De Wever. Read more.

5. Supermarkets faced with shortages and sharp price increases

Supermarkets will see empty shelves and price spikes of up to 20% as shortages and severe inflation loom, food retail corporation Gondola warns. Read more.

6. A healthier city: Brussels seeks residents’ advice to improve air quality

People living in Brussels have been asked to help improve the region’s air quality by sharing their ideas and opinions on how to do so on a recently launched online platform. Read more.

7. Electric scooters to be forbidden on pavements and for riders under 16

E-scooters have won over many as a quick and convenient alternative to public transport but can also be a nuisance. Today, Federal Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet revealed a raft of new regulations to control the problem. Read more.

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