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Belgium in Brief: Sloppy Work?

Credit: Belga/Pexels

Even though Belgium no longer has many coronavirus measures in force, they are still the subject of discussion as politicians are pointing fingers at each other for a loophole in the latest Ministerial Decree.

Restrictions on indoor private events for up to 200 people have been lifted since 1 September, but nightclubs still have to wait until 1 October to open.

Creative organisers, however, have managed to organise parties in nightclubs already by using a loophole in the law: they announce the parties as private events. Anyone who wants to attend sends an email to the organiser and receives an invitation as a private guest.

While Interior Affairs Minister Annelies Verlinden stated that this is not according to the spirit of the law, she also admitted that it was in fact possible.

Bart De Wever, Mayor of Antwerp and president of the Flemish right-wing N-VA party, blamed Verlinden, saying that the Ministerial Decrees are full of “things that were not intended, things that cannot be applied, loopholes and inconsistencies.”

The same day, Verlinden hit back at De Wever, pointing out that the Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon, of De Wever’s N-VA party, at no point opposed the proposed measures, and never protested against the draft Ministerial Decree.

This weekend, Jambon joined the squabble, saying that while he was indeed present to discuss the measures, the comments he submitted afterwards were not taken into account.

“Either we sit around the table together until the Ministerial Decree is ready, or the minister takes her responsibility,” Jambon said. “The fault lies with a bit of sloppy work. I think that [the Decrees] need to be handled more carefully.”

What do you think? Let @johnstonjules know, or @maithechini, as she wrote it today.

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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. Belgium’s next Consultative Committee planned for 17 September

Belgium’s authorities will meet on Friday 17 September for a new Consultative Committee about the country’s coronavirus measures, the cabinet of Prime Minister Alexander De Croo confirmed. Read more.

2. ‘Sloppy work’: Jambon warned Verlinden about unclear coronavirus rules

Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon said that he did comment on the ambiguity in the rules for indoor events in the latest Ministerial Decree before it was published, calling it “sloppy work” by Interior Affairs Minister Annelies Verlinden. Read more.

3. Paralympics Recap: 15 medals for Belgium

The Paralympic Games closed in the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on Sunday, with Belgium surpassing expectations and ranking 25th for number of medals won, and 31st in medal ranking. Read more.

4. Excess mortality: Deaths now back to pre-Covid levels

The number of deaths now being recorded in Belgium – around 300 a day – is no longer higher than it was before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more.

5. 1,500 protest in Brussels against mandatory vaccination

Several hundred people gathered yesterday in the Cinquantenaire park in Brussels to protest at the prospect of a Covid-19 vaccination being a mandatory requirement to take part in certain activities. Read more.

6. Higher prices in supermarkets expected next year

Global commodity prices are rising, and experts say this will translate into higher prices in the supermarket from the beginning of next year. Read more.

7. Two Belgian tourists die in Crete

Despite warnings that the sea was dangerous, the two Belgian tourists went into the water and were soon in difficulty, according to reports in local Greek media which were confirmed by Belgium’s Foreign Ministry. Read more.

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