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Belgium in Brief: Wait, Come Back

Another week, another meeting of the consultative committee, and another vague agenda. It is what it is. 

According to advanced reports, new immediate relaxations don’t seem likely today, as the authorities are mainly expected to focus on setting a timeline for the “summer of freedom” that De Croo previously promised.

Wait. Where are you going? There’s other news!

Yes, fine, people have been getting very excited for bars opening, but there’s very likely still some big news to come. 

The Summer of freedom is shaping up to be something to keep an eye on, as long as it’s approved. With its “Freedom Plan,” the Flemish government already presented the federal authorities with a step-by-step plan that is supposed to lead to a tentative return to normality by October.

This plan still has to be torn apart and reformed by the committee, but it also shows quite possibly the longest timeline we have seen so far. 

If they even remotely stick to the proposal, we could be looking at the end of the majority of anti-Covid restrictions by October.

That’s something worth keeping an eye on. 

Maybe I’m being naive, what do you think?

Let @johnstonjules / j.johnston@brusselstimes.com know.

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1. What Belgium’s Consultative Committee is discussing today

Belgium’s Consultative Committee is meeting again to clarify details on relaxations for specific sectors and a “broader summer plan” that could include large festivals.

The Committee started the meeting in person at 9:00 AM. Afterwards, a press conference to announce the latest decisions is expected to take place, the cabinet of Prime Minister Alexander De Croo confirmed to The Brussels Times. Here’s what to expect.

2. ‘Don’t relax too much at once’: experts plead for caution at Consultative Committee

Jules Johnston/ The Brussels Times

Several experts are calling for more caution from Belgium’s Consultative Committee today, as they are afraid politicians will relax too many measures at the same time. Here’s what they are saying.

3. Dutch tourism sector calls for ‘three-country bubble’ with Belgium and Germany

The Dutch government should consider a “three-country bubble,” including Belgium and Germany to at least secure some income from tourism, according to the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions (NBTC Holland Marketing). Read more.

4. After 100 years in the industry, what does Shimano see for the future of cycling in Belgium and beyond?

Photo by The Brussels Times

Shimano has been manufacturing bike parts for a century now, and as Brussels invests in more cycling infrastructure and Flanders looks to catch up to the Netherlands in terms of how many people are choosing a bicycle for their go-to means of transportation, The Brussels Times sat down with some of their Benelux team to get their insights on cycling trends – both in Belgium, and beyond.

Here’s what they’re noticing.

5. La Boum 3 approval would be ‘a slap in the face to the events sector,’ says Brussels Mayor

Giving the third edition of the La Boum festival authorisation from the city would be “a slap in the face to the events sector,” according to the mayor of the City of Brussels Philippe Close. Read More.

6. Mayor who jumped coronavirus vaccination queue temporarily replaced

The Belgian mayor who was under investigation for jumping the coronavirus vaccination queue will be temporarily replaced after Sint-Truiden’s municipal council voted unanimously on Monday that she had breached the code of ethics. Read More.

7. ‘Your parcel is on the way’: Bpost warns of new text scam

This one was also in the newsletter yesterday, but just for those that might have missed it…

People in Belgium have been warned of a new scam text being sent out to mobile phones across the country which asks people to click a link because their “parcel is on its way”. Read More.