Belgium in Brief: Is Anything Certain?

Belgium in Brief: Is Anything Certain?
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What a morning, eh?

Coming out of what I hope was a calm and cosy weekend, we are now confronted with news of measures that many might have guessed were on the horizon. Belgium’s Consultative Committee is meeting early to decide what to do next.

And whilst the slightly earlier Consultative Committee is, by itself, not particularly remarkable, the leaked document showing recommendations from the GEMS expert group certainly calls for discussion.

But media commentary on the proposed measures grows, it is important to stress that the suggested measures are, for now, recommendations. It will be down to government ministers to decide on Wednesday what actually comes into force.

Of course, the suggested measures have caused quite a stir – closing nightlife, smaller bubbles, and more teleworking isn’t exactly what we were hoping for in the closing months of 2021.

So, I hear you ask, what do we actually know at the moment?

Well… as ever the details are clouded in a mist of uncertainty.

We know the experts have recommendations. That’s normal.

We know some of what those recommendations are. That’s new. 

We know that there are different camps calling for different things. That’s normal.

We know other experts are angry those recommendations have been revealed. That’s new.

Ultimately, we’re back to the waiting game: waiting on De Croo, waiting to see what’s coming on Wednesday.

See you there?

What’s your thinking? Let @johnstonjules know (or email me 

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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. Consultative Committee brought forward to Wednesday

The next meeting of Belgium’s Consultative Committee, scheduled for Friday, has been brought forward to Wednesday at 2:30 PM, according to local media. Read more.

2. Belgium recommended strict new measures in leaked document: What are they?

A leaked document from Belgium’s coronavirus expert group (GEMS), which advises the government, has called for sweeping changes in the country as the virus continues to spread. Read more.

3. ‘A disgrace’: Van Ranst furious about leaked advice on stricter measures

On Monday morning, virologist Marc Van Ranst took to Twitter to condemn the premature leaking of the advice about stricter coronavirus measures, drafted by the GEMS expert group advising the Government. Here’s more.

4. Bedbugs ‘a growing problem’ in Brussels

Bedbugs are becoming a “growing problem” in Brussels, according to research from Puerto, a non-profit organisation that supports (ex) homeless people. Read more.

5. COP26: Belgian representatives stress the importance of future action

Belgian officials and civil society representatives present in Glasgow for the just ended UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, may have had differing views on the meeting’s outcome, but they all stressed the importance of concrete follow-up action if global warming targets are to be met. Read More.

6. Police start daily protests today

Police unions have announced daily protest actions starting today, Monday, and lasting for over two months. These will be a mix of one-off actions as well as increased traffic controls, Belga News Agency reports. Read more.

7. Belgium’s most-vaccinated province also has highest number of Covid cases

West Flanders has the highest vaccination rates in Belgium, according to data from Sciensano, but the province is struggling with some of the highest numbers of Covid-19 cases since the pandemic first began. Here’s more.

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