‘No one was consulted’: Brussels’ curfew extended without mayors’ input
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‘No one was consulted’: Brussels’ curfew extended without mayors’ input

Credit: Belga

The decision to extend Brussels’ 10:00 PM until 6:00 AM  curfew until 1 April happened without any consultation with the region’s 19 mayors, they have said.

Walloon Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo announced on Friday that the curfew in Wallonia would become the same as in Flanders, between midnight and 5:00 AM, resulting in Brussels’ Minister-President Rudi Vervoort announcing that he would not be changing the measures.

“Normally, a provincial crisis cell meeting would take place, because it concerns decisions about public order, but this time we did not receive an invitation. We were not even informed by phone,” Vincent De Wolf, mayor of Etterbeek, told Bruzz.

Following Friday’s Consultative Committee, the 19 mayors were expected to meet to evaluate this curfew, together with Vervoort, but this did not take place.

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The coronavirus fighting measure which was first introduced in October last year will now remain in place until 1 April, as stated in the Ministerial Decree.

Many mayors, from Uccle and Jette to Sint-Agatha-Berchem, found out about the measure’s extension in the media, according to Sint-Pieters-Woluwe’s mayor, Benoît Cerexhe, who said that no one was consulted.

Vervoort’s spokesperson confirmed to Bruzz that there was no official consultation – although it was announced beforehand – adding that it was not necessary either.

“This is not normal,” said De Wolf, arguing that Vervoort now “apparently decides alone. He could at least have notified the Conference of Mayors.”

“Vervoort referred to meetings in the Bois de la Cambre, by which he meant to say: it is the young people who are preventing us from relaxing. Moreover, there have also been large gatherings in Wallonia, so that is not an argument,” said Didier Gosuin, the mayor of Auderghem.

“Instead of blaming young people, he should have communicated like the federal government. They are waiting another week, and Brussels could have done the same,” he added.

Last month, many politicians already spoke out asking the government to reconsider this measure or align it to that of Flanders. Others, including group leader of the Brussels Défi party Emmanuel De Bock, stated the measure should be lifted entirely.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times