'Getting worse': Belgian youth pleads for relaxations of measures

'Getting worse': Belgian youth pleads for relaxations of measures
Credit: Belga

Three Belgian youth organisations have joined forces pleading for the Consultative Committee not to forget young people during the next meeting, saying that their situation is getting worse.

In an open letter, the Flemish Youth Council, the organisation for students of Flemish secondary schools (de Vlaamse Scholierenkoepel) and the Flemish Students’ Union have called on the government to allow more relaxations to be made for these age groups, ahead of the next Consultative Committee on Friday.

“We have started to notice that students’ voices are increasingly being heard, but now we want to emphasise that it is time to take action to really improve our situation,” Amir Bachrouri, President of the Flemish Youth Council, told De Morgen.

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Their calls mainly refer to the cancellation of extracurricular activities and school trips, which "can help them deal with the daily grind," as the organisations stressed that school is more than just a means of education.

The three organisations made a list of priorities, to get young people together again, which they ask the government to implement by 15 March at the latest, the main one being a relaxation of the group size for outdoor gatherings for these age groups.

However, Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke has already warned on Sunday not to expect significant relaxations after this week, highlighting that this can only happen once Belgium has a better understanding of the spread of the British mutation.

Mental health figures are blood-red

A recent study found that more than six in ten young people (ages 3 to 25) showed increased levels of anxiety and depression as a result of the pandemic.

For many young people, this period has been a very dark one, literally and figuratively speaking, during which they only sporadically had contact with their peers, and that was mainly during classes,” Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter told De Morgen, recognising the plea from young people.

“If we don’t give them any sort of perspective in the coming weeks and months,” she said, “there is a real risk many young people will fall apart,” adding that the figures around mental health are coloured blood-red.

Lauren Walker

The Brussels Times

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