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Belgium in Brief: How To Form A Government

Credit: Belga

While Belgium reached an agreement on the new federal government yesterday morning, news about what that agreement specifically entails trickled in over the course of the day, and will likely continue to do so for the rest of the week.

In the meantime, the new Vivaldi government has also appointed all its ministers and secretaries of state, all of whom were sworn in before King Philippe this morning, giving the country its first fully-fledged federal governments in nearly two years.

The federal cabinet is comprised of 20 members, equally split between both gender and language lines, made up of 14 ministers and five secretaries of state, plus new premier Alexander De Croo, a native Dutch speaker.

The new cabinet features the first-ever female defence minister Ludivine Dedonder, the brother of the former premier Charles Michel and a striking comeback by Frank Vandenbroucke, who left politics to pursue a career and academia.

In other news, Germany is now advising against travel to Belgium, and Burger King wants a Michelin star.

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. Cheatsheet: Changed coronavirus measures from today

Belgium’s National Security Council announced the latest measures to stop the further spread of the coronavirus in the country over a week ago, but several of them only come into force from today. Read more.

2. Who is in Belgium’s new federal government?

Credit: Belga

Belgium’s new federal administration was sworn in on Thursday morning before King Philippe, giving the country its first fully-fledged federal governments in nearly two years.

King Philippe swore in a 20-member federal cabinet equally split between gender and language lines, made up of 14 ministers and five secretaries of state (10 Francophone, 9 Dutch-speaking), plus new premier Alexander De Croo, a native Dutch speaker. Read more.

3. New government’s programme: diversity, gender equality and investment in justice

The new government under Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) took the oath of office before the King today, the parties concerned having received the backing of their membership.

The names of the vice-premiers, ministers and junior ministers have been announced, and their work begins as soon as they return from the royal palace. Here are the broad lines of the new government’s policy plans. Read more.

4. ‘Coronalert’: how Belgium’s coronavirus tracing app works

Credit: Belga/Nicolas Maeterlinck

Belgium launched Coronalert on the last day of September, a smartphone app that has to help slow down the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

“By using the app, we can protect each other, slow down the spread of Covid-19 and help contact tracing,” said Karine Moykens, chair of the interfederal committee for Testing & Tracing, when presenting the app during a press conference.

“But the app will only be effective if enough people install and use it,” she said, calling on everyone to download the app to their smartphone and to turn it on. Read more.

5. Belgian average rises steadily to 6 coronavirus deaths per day

While the number of coronavirus related deaths in Belgium remains relatively low, the average has risen steadily to 6 per day, according to the latest figures by Sciensano on Thursday.

Over the past week, an average number of 6 deaths occurred per day, up from the average of 4.6 the week before. In the first half of September, Belgium recorded an average of approximately 2 to 3 deaths per day. Read more.

6. Germany adds Belgium to list of red zones

The German government on Wednesday issued a travel warning for the whole of Belgium due to the increasing number of coronavirus infections, DPA reports based on advice from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Initially, the country only considered Brussels as a risk zone. Germany has warned its population against travelling to areas where the number of new infections within 7 days exceeds the limit of 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. This is not a travel ban, but a warning. Read more.

7. Belgian Burger King wants a Michelin Star

In a move nobody was expecting, the CEO of Burger King Belgium has officially launched a campaign to get the much-coveted Michelin Star for the latest creation of the American burger chain.

In a new advertising campaign containing a letter addressed to inspectors of the Michelin Guide, Kevin Derycke outlines his case for the award for the latest creation – the Master Burger. Read more.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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