The Mouvement Réformateur (MR) feels the “closure of the borders,” Belgian-style, should not be extended, MR President George-Louis Bouchez said in a message issued on Sunday, ahead of the next meeting of the Consultative Committee.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo had already announced that the ban on non-essential travel abroad (and into Belgium) would be reassessed at the Committee meeting, to be held on Friday 26 February.
The ban was initially announced for 27 January to 1 March. On 5 February, it was extended to 1 April, prompting a rapid reaction from the European Commission. Belgian Commissioner Didier Reynders, who himself hails from the ranks of the Francophone liberals, alerted Belgium to the need for measures to be proportional.
“The current political agreement sets the end of the measure at 1 March and not beyond,” Bouchez said on Sunday. “Such a limitation of so basic a freedom cannot be extended without demonstrating absolute necessity and if no other measure can be taken to save us. So, today, this measure needs to questioned and its term established.”
The MR leader also referred to the need to “set a target for the hospitality sector,” suggesting reopening “for Spring,” with “strict protocols.” Extending the status quo until Summer is out of the question,” he argued.
“Giving freedom back” to the youth and reviewing protocols for cultural activities will also be included in Friday’s discussions, according to the MR leader.
“Generally, each of these measures needs to be examined against the real health situation, but also against the psychological and economic necessities for well-being,” he stressed.