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    Flanders sets up committee for social relaunch

    Following the creation of a committee to organise the region’s economic relaunch, the Flemish government will now do the same for social recovery, minister-president Jan Jambon told the VRT Sunday politics show De Zevende Dag,

    The committee for the region’s economic relaunch was set up ten days ago, to organise the reopening of businesses that have been shut down, and accustom them to life in the new post-pandemic era.

    Now, Jambon said, the same effort is required to get social life in the region back on its feet after more than two months of stand-still, and certain changes to social life that will remain in the short term, such as face masks, and others – such as social distancing – which may simply never be the same again.

    The social recovery committee is made up of a number of experts in their respective fields: a social economist and a health economist; a professor of sexual criminal law; an expert on smart cities and public spaces; an education psychologist and the president of the Flemish Youth Council.

    The aim of the social recovery committee is to help the Flemish government “to absorb the impact of the corona crisis on our society as far as possible by avoiding, limiting or repairing the damage caused to our social fabric,” Jambon said. “We are also thinking about how we can make the fabric of our social life more resilient and stronger in this new context.”

    The committee will look at a number of policy areas:

    – mental well-being, loneliness, family stress, addiction problems, post-traumatic stress and stress among health care workers and care providers;
    – welfare and the fight against poverty, preventive health care, health care organisation, the evolution of the profile of poverty;
    – leisure, sports, associations and religion;
    – education and training;
    – civil and other types of integration;
    – communications, accelerated digitisation and privacy.

    Jambon is also responsible for the specific policy field of culture, and was asked why that topic is not mentioned in his committee’s remit.

    The answer, he said, is simply that there is not room for every detail in what is a necessarily broad charter.

    Above all that, I’m also minister for culture, and I will make sure that culture is also on the agenda,” he said.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times