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Cheat Sheet: What Changes On 1 June?

The start of any month in Belgium brings with it a host of new changes – and June is no different. 

From reptiles and swimming to massive medical reimbursement, here’s a rundown of what’s changing – and has nothing to do with the coronavirus crisis.

Brussels says 422 species of reptiles are pets:

1 June will see the launch of the first official list of which species of reptiles can be kept as pets in the Brussels-Capital Region. These include: 

  • 249 lizards, 
  • 107 snakes,
  •  66 turtles.

Brussels residents wishing to keep a species that is not one of the 422 on the list will have to submit an approval request to Bruxelles Environnement. They can keep them provided they can prove that they already owned the animal before the positive list of reptiles came into force.

Wallonia opens outdoor swimming areas:

The Walloon government will open 27 open-air swimming areas in the region from 1 June until 30 September.

Compared to last year, three additional areas will be open for bathing: the “canal-beach” in Estaimpuis – a new site – as well as the Recht ponds in Saint-Vith and the Neufchâteau lake, both reopened thanks to improved water quality.

Migraine drug goes from €491/dose to under €15:

Novartis’s Aimovig, a €491/dose drug used to treat severe migraines, will be reimbursed from 1 June. 

With reimbursement, the patient contribution for an ordinarily insured patient will be €12.10 per dose; for preferentially insured patients, it is €8.

Banking fines drop by 1%:

The cost of dropping below zero on a current account or being unable to pay a credit card bill will drop from June onwards.

The maximum rates that banks are allowed to charge to customers who go overdrawn or who are unable to pay the credit card expenses on the due date will decrease by 1%.

In practice, this means that: 

  • For amounts up to €1,250, the ‘penalty interest’ will be at most 13.5% for a card and 9.5% on an account.
  • For amounts between €1,250 and €5,000, this becomes 11.5% and 8.5%. 
  • For even higher amounts, it becomes 10.5% and again 8.5%.

The maximum annual percentage rates of charge for instalment sales, instalment loans, credit agreements and finance leases remain unchanged.

Daycare centre compensation:

During the coronavirus crisis, if a baby or toddler could not attend the day-care centre or the child-minder due to illness or for other reasons, the crèches and childminders received financial compensation for the lost income, meaning parents did not have to pay.

This means that from today, when a child stays at home, the childcare centre is allowed to charge parents again or they will have to use one of their “respite days”. The compensation will still apply if the daycare centre is forced to close, for example, due to contamination by a care worker.

Claim back on your glasses:

More patients will benefit from reimbursement for the cost of lenses for their glasses from 1 June. Until now lenses were reimbursed from a dioptre of 8.25, regardless of age. 

This threshold will be lowered to 7.75 as of 1 June. In addition, for those under 18 and those over 65, the threshold will drop from a dioptre of 8 to 7.5. 

Around 23,500 people are expected to benefit from the new measure.

Railway workers get a limited bike allowance:

Railway workers in Belgium will get access to a bicycle allowance of €0.24 per km. However, this only applies from a distance of at least one kilometre and with a maximum of ten kilometres.

Railway workers who want a bicycle allowance must register via the ‘Bike to Work’ app.

European Public Prosecutor starts work:

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EOM), the first-ever supranational public prosecutor’s office, becomes operational on 1 June. The European Public Prosecutor’s Office will be responsible for criminal investigations and prosecutions of offences against the EU budget, such as fraud, corruption or cross-border VAT fraud above EUR 10 million.

The EOM involves 22 EU Member States, including Belgium. It is a fully independent body – with its headquarters in Luxembourg – which seeks cooperation with OLAF, Europol, Eurojust, and Member States authorities that do not participate.