Cross-border couples protest ‘old-fashioned’ new rules in Brussels
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Cross-border couples protest ‘old-fashioned’ new rules in Brussels

Credit: Pxhere

On Sunday, some 50 people gathered in Brussels to protest against the latest coronavirus measures for couples in a long-distance relationship, as they believe they are old-fashioned and too strict.

The protestors gathered in front of the Federal Public Service for Home Affairs, following Prime Minister Wilmès’ announcement on Thursday that international couples in a “lasting” long-distance relationship would be allowed to travel to see each other from September, subject to some conditions.

However, the definition of what will be seen as a “lasting relationship” will still see a lot of couples falling by the wayside, according to the protestors.

The conditions have yet to be determined definitively, but according to Wilmès, it should concern a relationship of at least two years, or partners who have lived together for at least a year. Having a child together would also satisfy the conditions.

Many members of the group ‘Love is not tourism’ believe that these conditions are “arbitrary”, “old-fashioned” and “too strict.”

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Eva Hoornaert is the initiator of the modest protest on Sunday morning. “My boyfriend lives in Israel. We have been together for two years and two months. So we could see each other again from 1 September. In the meantime, couples who have been together for a shorter period of time are left out in the cold,” she told De Standaard.

In Denmark, couples have to be together for at least three months, but Hoornaert proposes a six-month limit to politicians. “That still seemed reasonable to us, but two years is too long. For the most part, it’s just young couples who got to know each other recently and were suddenly separated because of the coronavirus crisis,” she said.

“The fact that they still want to be together after so many months is sufficient proof that this is a lasting relationship, isn’t it? I do not think politicians should determine what a lasting relationship is. They should not rule over our love,” Hoornaert said.

The support of virologist Marc Van Ranst, which he expressed on Twitter before the announcement of the conditions was made, proves that the current relaxation has no virological ground, according to Hoornaert. “It is a purely political decision.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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