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‘One measure too many’: Belgium urged to abolish curfew

Credit: Belga/Kristof Van Accom

The different political youth parties in Flanders are jointly pushing for the abolition of the curfew measure in Belgium ahead of the Consultative Committee on Friday.

In a joint press release, the young liberals (Jong VLD), greens (Jong Groen), Flemish nationalists (Jong N-VA), Christiandemocrats (JONGCD&V) and socialists (Jongsocialisten) asked the government for more perspective, calling the curfew “one measure too many.”

The curfew has been in force for about four months now, and while the leaders of the youth parties state that the measure was initially useful, the question can be asked whether it is still necessary and if “the negative effects are in proportion to the positive ones.”

According to them, the current ban on gatherings is sufficient to limit contacts, and the curfew has become a mere “enforcement mechanism” with “numerous adverse side-effects.”

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The parties ask for more “customisation” and a “constant evaluation and evolution” of the measures. “A measure like a curfew is a rule for nothing. Restricting people’s freedom of movement is only a last resort,” they said. “Let us keep it that way.”

Last week, several politicians, including the leader of the Flemish liberal Open VLD party Egbert Lachaert, had also questioned whether Belgium still needed the curfew.

“Any freedom-restricting measure must be efficient, necessary, proportionate and temporary,” Lachaert tweeted. “Politicians and experts must ask the question whether this is still the case for the curfew today.”

The curfew applies from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM in Wallonia and the Brussels-Capital Region, and between midnight and 5:00 AM in Flanders. Following the latest Consultative Committee, the measure was extended again, until at least 1 April.

However, Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden said earlier this week that the Consultative Committee on Friday will review whether the current curfew will be lifted before then.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times