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Belgium in Brief: They Can, But Will They?

Another day, another development in Belgium’s seemingly endless Covid pass (CST) saga. The most recent news is remarkably definitive, even if it has yet to come into force.

As of October, Belgium CAN use the pass in new situations, similar to France.

But the real question is WILL it?

From October, the CST CAN be required for persons of 16 years and above in hospitality venues, dancehalls and discos, sports clubs and gyms, commercial fairs and conventions, and associated cultural, festive and recreational gatherings.

That news, however, is far from a guarantee that anything WILL happen quite yet. Sorry, but I CAN be certain of that.

So when could it happen? And where?

All bets seem to be on Brussels.

“In principle, the current health rules apply until the end of this month. It would be good if we could make the transition to October,” said Zeynep Balci, spokesperson for the Brussels minister-president, on Wednesday.

Yet before this can happen, several steps will be necessary. The cooperation agreement still has to be approved by the consultative committee, which could be held virtually this Wednesday.

Then the Council of State must be consulted, which will pave the way for a debate in the Brussels Parliament. It will then be up to the Brussels Government to determine which sectors will be affected.

And does that mean anything WILL change?

Nope.

But recent developments in Brussels (see below) indicate that they almost certainly will, once the legal framework has been put in place. How far CST use will extend beyond the capital is, predictably, less clear.

So, would you take issue with a CST becoming commonplace? Do you think it should be in the whole country? Let @johnstonjules know.

BUT WAIT, one last thing: Want news from The Brussels Times in your inbox every morning? Sign up for The Recap, a free daily newsletter containing all the stories you need to know from the day before. It goes great with your morning coffee. 

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1. Belgian regions can expand the use of Covid Safe Ticket

On Tuesday evening, Belgium agreed upon the terms of a cooperation agreement to expand the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST). Here’s the decision that backs up the lead. Read more.

2. ‘Nobody lives there’: Airbnb investors taking up scarce Brussels real estate

Credit: Orlando Whitehead, The Brussels Times

While Airbnb claims that it enables people to rent their room or house sporadically to tourists, a new study from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) shows this isn’t really the case at all. Read more.

3. Cars lead the commute

Even with the surge in home working, company cars remain commonplace in Belgium, with 23% of employees using one to travel to work and 51% making the commute in their own vehicle, a study released on Tuesday showed. Read more.

4. ‘Children will pay for adults’ freedom’: new quarantine wave to hit schools soon

A fourth wave could leave kids in Belgium in danger of missing out for the third school year in a row. Read more.

5. Up to €4000 for companies who buy a cargo bike

The region was selected to be part of Urban Innovative Actions – a scheme backed by the European Commission to test solutions for sustainable urban development. Read more.

6. Belgium and Netherlands centre of cocaine traffic in Europe

Belgium and the Netherlands are at the very centre of cocaine trafficking in Europe, according to the latest report by Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency. Read more.

7. Train stations will soon host vaccinations

Brussels-Midi and Brussels-Central will both soon have a dedicated vaccination centre, accessible to railway employees and their families, travellers, and anyone who has not yet been vaccinated. Read more.