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Belgium in Brief: A Return To Uncertainty 

Clearly, we’re not out of the woods quite yet.

There was a plan. We knew it was ambitious, but we were all hopeful that this time it would stick. Less than two weeks later, however, that plan is already on shaky ground.

So now, something that was touted as a way of providing some degree of stability is starting to look a lot more like a shiny object used to distract us.

The fact that there’s a meeting taking place that could substantially alter what little life people have at the moment isn’t something that should leak. It isn’t something that journalists should have to dig to find out, it’s vital information.

I know this isn’t a malicious action, far from it, but a lack of communication on this front is concerning.

So now I’m once again trying to answer that big question in everyone’s mind ahead of a Consultative Committee meeting: What’s happening today?

Honestly? I don’t have a clue. I really wish I did, and as soon as we know something, we’ll keep you updated.

For now, we’re returning to uncertainty. Again. Part 2. The Reuncertainy. This Time It’s Personal. One More Time With Feeling.

So, what would you give up? What needs to remain?

Let @johnstonjules know on Twitter.

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 launching later this month 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. What’s on the agenda of the Consultative Committee today?

Belgium’s Consultative Committee will meet a week early today, to analyse the rising coronavirus figures and re-evaluate the measures currently in place.

The Committee will meet digitally from 3:00 PM today, to “analyse the situation in detail based on the latest figures,” the cabinet of Prime Minister Alexander De Croo confirmed to The Brussels Times. Read More.

2. Earlier curfew and closed shops: What is Belgium’s Covid Plan B?

As Belgium’s infections and hospitalisations rise again, the GEMS experts have advised the government to switch to ‘Plan B’ of the coronavirus managing strategy.

But what exactly is Plan B? Click here to find out.

3. This could be the start of Belgium’s third wave, Van Gucht warns

Belgium could be at the start of the third wave of new infections, but it could stay a small one if everyone continues to follow the measures in place, according to virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.

“What we see now could be considered as the beginning of a third wave, but we cannot predict when we will reach a peak or how fast it will come,” he said. Read More.

4. ‘I love my work’, Brussels bus driver brings cheer to commutes

Bus passengers in Brussels have cheerfully reported that one aspect of taking public transport has given them unexpected joy during these challenging times crowded by the coronavirus.

What it that aspect? Layla Rifi, a STIB bus driver who has been gaining praise from Twitter, local media, and Tiktok as she goes about her job. Read More.

5. Five years on from terrorist attacks, intelligence services still have problems cooperating

Next Monday, 22 March, sees the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks at Brussels Airport and on the Brussels metro at Maelbeek.

But even five years after that shock, the country’s intelligence and security services are unable to work together properly, an investigation by De Morgen has revealed. Read more.

6. Alexander De Croo in top 10 highest-earning government leaders worldwide

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo is the tenth highest earning head of government in the world, according to a study by Norwegian bank Sumo Finans.

Within the EU, only Germany and Luxembourg have elected heads of government earning more than De Croo does with his €221,000 annual salary. Read More.

7. Belgian wine is making a global name for itself

Wine is booming in Belgium, as more and more growers in the country join in.

Acreage for Vineyards has increased from 150 to 550 hectares in Belgium in the last ten years, and 1.5 million litres of new wine flowed from the region, according to VRT. Soon, over 350 people will be coming together for a virtual wine symposium, including 154 professional winegrowers. Read More.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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