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Belgians cannot visit family or shop in France yet

Credit: Belga

Visiting family and shopping across the country’s borders is possible again from today, according to a Ministerial Decree, but France said that it will not let Belgians enter.

On Saturday, a Ministerial Decree was published in the Belgian Official Journal, making the decision official. However, Belgium’s neighbouring countries were not informed, which caused some issues at the borders on Saturday morning.

On Saturday afternoon, the French Ministry of Interior Affairs informed RTL that the country will not open its borders before 15 June, as it announced earlier this week. “Belgians have opened their borders, but France has not done that yet,” a spokesperson said.

The lack of communication caused many Belgians wanting to visit family or shop in France to be sent back at the French-Belgian border.

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“These journeys have not been approved by the French police. Whoever does it anyway, risks a fine of €135. In case of recidivism, we can make arrests,” the French Gendarmerie of the Maubeuge municipality, at the border with Belgium, confirmed to RTL.

The Netherlands, too, reacted with surprise to the Belgian decision. “In March, the border suddenly closed without any consultation,” Marga Vermue, mayor of the Dutch border city Sluis, told VRT NWS. “Now, we are surprised again,” she added.

Vermue had not been officially informed of the Ministerial Decree, she said. “This is not a good example of timely communication,” she said, adding that she will hold an emergency meeting about the situation.

According to the latest available information, the Ministerial Decree now only applies to journeys to Germany, the Netherlands and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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