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Belgium in Brief: Return it? Burn it

Credit: Belga/Pixabay

The other big looming bad that we’ve perhaps not given due attention to is the impact of Brexit on everyday life.

Packages have gone missing, customs forms are causing headaches, and across Europe, people are starting to face charges they never expected to pay, and refusing the charge.

But before the rejected goods – as well as the 30% of all online sales which are returned for other reasons – can come back to the seller, they must first pass through another set of obstacles to get back into the UK, each with a list of associated charges.

At the other side of things, Brits in Europe (and Europeans in the UK) are trying to work out just where they fit. In Belgium, the framework for the much talked about new status seems to exist – however, phonecalls to actually sort it out have been raising problems.

How has your experience been? Faced a surcharge from an online store? Hit an administrative burden? We haven’t even started to talk travel.

Anyway, let @johnstonjules know on Twitter.

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. Cheat Sheet: Which Measures Changed Today?

Starting this Monday, Belgium once again has a new set of coronavirus rules to contend with, as announced by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Friday.

Anyone could be forgiven for slightly losing track by this point, so here are the key changes in the new measures which begin today.

2. Brussels struggles between ‘anti-car’ and ‘pro-pedestrian’

Brussels most recent moves towards low-speed zones and more pedestrian zones have drawn criticism from pro vehicle groups, as the city struggles between a depiction as ‘anti-car’ and ‘pro-pedestrian.’ Read More.

3. The 6 ‘essential’ exceptions to Belgium’s latest travel ban

Belgium will prohibit non-essential travel from 27 January to 1 March, according to the latest measures from Belgium’s Consultative Committee.

These measures, however, stop short of an all border closure or travel ban – meaning travel will be allowed under six specific cases considered essential. Here they are.

4. Reopening hairdressers on 13 February is ‘totally unfeasible,’ says Van Ranst

Reopening hairdressers and other contact professions in Belgium on 13 February is “totally unfeasible,” according to virologist Marc Van Ranst.

The 13 February date, that was mentioned by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo following the Consultative Committee on Friday, for the restart of contact professions on the condition that the figures evolve favourably, worries the virologist. Read More.

5. Police to enforce Belgium’s new ban on non-essential travel

While continuous surveillance of Belgium’s borders is impossible, the police will endeavour to enforce the ban on non-essential travel issued on Friday by the Consultative Committee, according to Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden. Read more.

6. Brexit: UK webshops refusing returns because of red tape

British retailers who sell goods online to the EU are refusing to accept returns, arguing that the cost since Brexit is too high to make the transaction worth it.

The Belgian-based beer website Beer on Web is one of many, with the stark announcement: “Due to the new Brexit measures, we can no longer ship to the UK”. Read More.

7. Anti-inflammatory drug found to reduce complications linked to COVID-19

An anti-inflammatory drug used normally on gout patients has proved effective in treating complications linked to Covid-19, the Institut de cardiologie de Montréal (ICM – Montreal Institute of Cardiology) announced on Saturday on its website. Read More.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times