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The Recap: Decisions, Diplomacy & Destruction

Frank Vandenbroucke (left) with prime minister Alexander De Croo. © Belga

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EU reaches milestone of 100 million vaccinations: Over 100 million vaccines have been administered in the European Union as of Wednesday. More than a quarter are second doses, which means that more than 27 million Europeans have been fully vaccinated.

Johnson & Johnson asks not to use vaccine until EMA decision next week: Following six cases of blood clots and low platelet counts in the US, the company recommends not to use doses of their coronavirus vaccine until the European Medicines Agency (EMA) decides on its safety next week.

EU launches cheese diplomacy in negotiations on Cyprus issue: The European Commission adopted measures to protect Cypriot cheese against imitation and to promote production on both sides of the United Nations Buffer Zone between the Greek and Turkish sides of the island.

Belgium announces ‘cautious’ relaxations after Easter pause: Belgium will start relaxing some of its coronavirus-fighting measures after the so-called “Easter pause,” announced Prime Minister Alexander De Croo during a press conference on Wednesday.

How travel will work after Belgium lifts its non-essential travel ban: As expected, the Consultative Committee announced on Wednesday that the ban on non-essential travel to and from Belgium will be lifted on Monday 19 April. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, however, made it clear that all non-essential travel remains strictly discouraged.

Italian off-duty carabinieri spot stolen Roman statue on sale at Brussels Sablon: Two Italian carabinieri – a type of military law enforcement force – solved a ten-year-old crime when they spotted a stolen Roman statue for sale in an antique shop on the Sablon in Brussels.

Wealth of all people in Belgium hit record-high of €1 465 billion: In 2020, the financial assets of all people living in Belgium increased to a record €1 465.7 billion from €1 409 billion in the previous year. “Because of the coronavirus crisis, a lot of people have been able to put aside just a little extra money.”

WWF: Belgium among major importers of deforestation products: The European Union is the world’s second-largest importer of products derived from deforestation, according to a new report from WWF. Within the EU, Belgium is one of the eight main countries involved.

Belgium’s conversion to rich natural gas will be completed in 2024 instead of 2029: Belgium’s conversion from lean gas to rich natural gas, which started in 2018, will be completed five years earlier than planned.

Japan to dump nuclear power plant wastewater into Pacific Ocean: Japan plans to dump more than 1 million tonnes of wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was wrecked by the devastating tsunami in 2011, into the Pacific Ocean.

The Brussels Times