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Belgium in Brief: What Expats Want

The non-Belgian community of Brussels – of which many of us are part – really want to vote, according to the preliminary results from a survey by the Brussels Government aimed at giving international residents a say.

But is that so surprising? We live here.

The crux of the matter – though I would recommend reading this piece from Lauren Walker to get your head around it – is that letting international residents vote in Brussels regional elections would require a change in the Belgian Constitution, which can only be done by the Federal Government.

This would give the community a say in politics at a semi-local level. You know, the level that has a huge impact on daily lives? So what’s a regional issue?

Yes. All that, and so much more. Starts to make sense why people want a say, right?

Unsurprisingly, the other big request from expats is for English to be used more at an administrative level. I’ll be the first to say that I struggle with some administrative tasks in English, let alone Dutch (often with google translate, a phrasebook and a long-suffering partner trying to help me through it).

So, readers and all, what do YOU want from Brussels? Let @johnstonjules know.

BUT WAIT, one last thing: Want news from The Brussels Times in your inbox every morning? Sign up for The Recap, a free daily newsletter containing all the stories you need to know from the day before. It goes great with your morning coffee. 

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. Possible security breach detected in CovidScan app

A potential security breach in the validation and reading of Belgium’s Covid Safe Tickets (CST) via the CovidScan application could affect over 39,000 people, says the Data Protection Authority (DPA). Read more.

2. How I learned to stop worrying and love my bike

Credit: Craig Winneker

Craig Winneker explains how, after over 20 years, he’s discovering the joys of getting around town almost exclusively by bike, or of exploring the city, the surrounding region and the rest of Belgium on two human-powered wheels. Read his story here.

3. NASA astronaut shares photo of Brussels from space

A photo taken from the International Space Station by NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough has shown us a view of Brussels that many of us have never seen. Read more.

4. Brussels Region bans 38,000 cars from January

Beginning next year, the Brussels Region will ban all diesel cars with the Euro 4 standard. These are typically cars from 11 to 16 years old, which Bruzz reports make up about 10 percent of the cars in Belgium, with 38,000 cars in Brussels alone. Read more.

5. Brussels Christmas Market will return for 2021

It may be October, but the news that Brussels will get back its Christmas market this year means that seasonal celebrations with Glühwein (mulled wine), various fried foods, and cheese are back on the cards for many. Read more.

6. Belgium to invest €2 million in night trains to create international hub

As part of a move to boost sustainable international mobility, the Federal Government will set aside €2 million from 2022 to make Belgium an international hub for night trains. Read more.

7. Smoking to become more expensive in Belgium

A packet of cigarettes in Belgium will soon become 25 cents more expensive as a result of increased tax duties on tobacco. Read more.

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