King Philippe and Prime Minister Charles Michel celebrate 50 years of self-employed status in Belgium
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    King Philippe and Prime Minister Charles Michel celebrate 50 years of self-employed status in Belgium

    © Belga
    King Philippe, together with Charles Michel and Denis Ducarme celebrated 50 years of the self-employed social status.
    © Belga

    King Philippe took part on Wednesday evening in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the social status of the self-employed. The event took place at 7.30 p.m. at the Centre for Fine Arts (known as “Bozar”) in Brussels. Also in the presence of the Prime Minister, the Minister for the Self-employed and SMEs, Denis Ducarme, launched the campaign “Happy Independent’s Year”, the associated Internet site of the same name and the Internet platform #improver.

    King Philippe discussed with 11 self-employed individuals both their respective current situations and their future challenges. A pregnant woman, a sick self-employed individual and a partially-sighted individual spoke of safety mechanisms which have developed as the legislation has evolved. There was also the issue of the administrative burden and concerns around pensions.

    The Prime Minister then expressed his view, “Being self-employed is a commitment, a passion, indeed a responsibility. Charles Michel went on to say, “That is to say that you create work for yourself, but also for others – your employees.” 

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    Denis Ducarme mentioned recent developments relating to adaptation of contributions to the actual economic situation and both advances made already and those in the future. He then officially launched the  campaign, on his initiative and that of INASTI (the National Social Insurance Institute for Self-employed Workers), collaborating with organisations representing self-employed workers being UNIZO (the Union of Self-employed Entrepreneurs), UCM (the Union for the self-employed), SNI (Union for Freelancers), the FPS Social Security and Synergy4.

    The web site happyindependentsyear.be provides a insight into everything done over the last 50 years for the self-employed social status.

    Over the next few weeks, around fifty self-employed individuals will give accounts of their present situation, and how they perceive their future through personal video vignettes.

    The interactive platform will enable the submission, until August 31st, of proposals to develop the social status of the self-employed, and to stimulate the spirit of entrepreneurship. Minister Ducarme will examine the feasibility of the fifteen ideas which have achieved the greatest number of “likes”.

    In Belgium, the number of self-employed workers has increased by more than 13% between 2009 and 2016. There are now more than a million of them in Belgium. Denis Ducarme maintains, “This status has proven a success because it is more appealing than ever and less people are deterred from taking this route than in the past.” He wishes to continue to advance the social progress of this particular status.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times