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Belgium in Brief: Belgium Needs A Nap

I’m starting to think of these fortnightly meetings of the consultative committee less as something I have to cover professionally, and more like an interaction with a slightly grumpy small child who really needs a nap.

With me so far? Because the evidence to back this up is pretty strong as they both share a lot of similarities.

Think about it:

  • Both are resistant to change and really like a schedule.
  • Neither enjoy being told what to do by other people and might just do nothing if they feel like it.
  • Toddlers and the committee are unpredictable, often wanting to do things at a time of their own choosing with little regard for your schedule, and can have a dire impact on your ability to do other things.
  • They are also difficult to understand when they think they are being clear,  and get annoyed when you don’t listen.

I could go on. I really want to, but I would far rather hear your ideas.

Let @johnstonjules know on Twitter and your best suggestions could make it into BIB tomorrow.

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. Belgium must consider 10-person outdoor bubble on Friday, stresses minister

The Consultative Committee has to discuss whether an outdoor social bubble of ten adults is possible during its meeting on Friday, according to Joachim Coens, leader of the Flemish Christian-democrat CD&V party.

“There are a lot of signals from the population that indicate that the limit of what they can accept has been reached,” he said on Flemish television on Wednesday evening. “If the motivation disappears, the curve goes up. The Consultative Committee must give a signal of what is possible.” Read More.

2. Why relaxing too many rules is not a good idea in March

It is looking likely that Belgium’s Consultative Committee will relax some rules on Friday, but experts believe that March is not the right month for too many relaxations.

According to virologist and member of the GEMS expert group advising the government Steven Van Gucht, the authorities’ decision to postpone any possible relaxations by a week was a wise one.

“By now, we have moved up another week,” he told The Brussels Times. “That is something that all predictions and models show: the longer we hold on to the measures, the less risk there will be for certain relaxations.” Read More.

3. Breydel building becomes coronavirus vaccination centre for EU staff

A separate coronavirus vaccination centre has been set up for staff working for the European Commission to receive their shots in the Breydel building in Brussels’ European Quarter.

“Thanks to the annual vaccination of several members of our staff, we have the necessary equipment to carry out the vaccination ourselves,” Director General of Human Resources, Gertrud Ingestad, said during an online press conference on Wednesday. Read More.

4. Locals complain of chaos in Matongé quarter in Ixelles

Local people living in the Matongé quarter of Ixelles have demanded action from the municipality of Ixelles to combat what they see as growing lawlessness in the neighbourhood.

Bruzz visited the neighbourhood, and reported drugs dealers operating openly in the shopping arcades, as well as litter, refuse and filth everywhere, including human waste. Read More.

5. Why allowing outdoor activities is starting to make sense again

Even though Belgium’s coronavirus figures have not improved drastically compared to last week, politicians and experts are in favour of allowing people to meet in larger groups when outdoors.

The Consultative Committee will meet again on Friday to discuss the same changes that were on the agenda last week, and it seems likely that the expansion of people’s social contacts for outdoor activities will be announced at the end of the week, Van Gucht told The Brussels Times. Read More.

6. KU Leuven scores highly in new university rankings

The university of Leuven leads all Belgian universities in the latest ranking by subject matter of educational establishments across the world.

The rankings are produced by the British-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), which also produces a ranking of world universities on general criteria. Read More.

7. Cyclist who knocked over five-year-old given suspended sentence

The cyclist who appeared on a video knocking over a five-year-old-girl in Belgium around Christmas last year has received a suspended sentence and was ordered to pay the family a symbolic €1 in damages.

The Verviers court ruled on Wednesday that the 60-year-old man, who had been accused by the prosecution of deliberately knocking the young girl over, will receive a suspended sentence, which means that the judge considered the facts to be proven, but will not pronounce the sentence. Read more.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times