‘Respect commitments that were made,’ ministers say ahead of Consultative Committee
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‘Respect commitments that were made,’ ministers say ahead of Consultative Committee

Credit: Belga

Representatives of the federal government, the Communities, and the Regions met on Wednesday for the first time since the announcement of the Easter ‘pause’ to discuss new relaxations and measures.

Ministers from the different levels of government, who will have to decide on various issues, said the commitments that were made during previous meetings must be respected, most notably the reopening of the hospitality sector, which was planned for 1 May.

“It was said that on 1 May, the hotel and catering industry would reopen, and for me, the opening of terraces is a certainty. I hear a lot of party presidents making this call, and I hope that at the meeting the support for this reopening will also be on the agenda,” Flemish Minister-President, Jan Jambon, said upon his arrival at Egmont Palace in Brussels, where the meeting is being held.

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He added that a broader reopening would be decided in a “next phase”.

The president of the PS, Paul Magnette, told RTL on Wednesday morning that it was necessary to respect “the commitments that have been made”, and that the reopening of this sector should take place at the beginning of next month.

“Let’s stick to what we have committed to. It is important that there is popular support for the measures. And right now, there isn’t” said Magnette, referring to a survey by Sciensano which highlighted the decreasing morale of people in Belgium regarding the coronavirus crisis.

The Ecolo deputy prime minister, Georges Gilkinet, agreed with this statement to respect the commitments, and also highlighted that the mental health of the population, which has been marked by months of confinement, must be taken into account.

“What is important is to keep the commitments and give perspectives, and to move from crisis management to risk management. In terms of mental health, people need to see each other again,” he said.

He added that people in the economic sectors need to work, and those in the cultural sector need perspective, and that “as a member of this Consultative Committee, I want to give these perspectives, especially in terms of mental health. We need to breathe like never before.”

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times