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Belgium in Brief: Important Talk Show Announcements

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Following the incomprehension after last weekend’s announcement that garden parties would only be allowed if a professional caterer was hired, Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon went back on his statement during a popular talk show last night.

“From 9 June, the next date relaxations are going into force, we will allow garden parties for 50 people, caterer or no caterer,” he said on ‘The Cooke & Verhulst show.’

However, while Jambon was mainly criticised for his unclear communication about health measures, he also came under fire for the fact that he made such an important announcement during an entertainment programme.

Denouncing the lack of official announcement, the president of the Flemish Christian-democrat CD&V party Joachim Coens tweeted: “Is this how we inform people?”

On top of that, the announcement happened at the same time as the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest, which drew a lot of viewers across the country, as Belgium was among those performing.

This morning, Coens took to Flemish radio to plead for “unambiguous communication,” while also stressing that the rules for garden parties are still not 100% clear to him.

“It is supposed to go according to the rules of the hospitality industry, but [bars and restaurants] have to close at 10:00 PM,” he said. “Does your garden then also close at 10:00 PM?”

Until the Ministerial Decree is published, however, it seems like no one will be able to answer that question.

What do you think? Should Jambon have made his announcement at a different time?

Were you watching the Eurovision Song Contest? What do you think of the first batch of Grand Finalists?

Let @johnstonjules know. Or @maithechini, since she wrote it today.

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1. Garden parties allowed this summer, with or without caterer, clarifies Jambon

On Tuesday evening, Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon stated that from 9 June, hosting garden parties for over ten people is allowed, with or without professional catering, going back on what he said last weekend. Read more.

2. ‘Not sufficiently bilingual’: Brussels’ French-speaking schools struggle to achieve Dutch fluency

Both the Flemish and French-speaking education systems give pupils the opportunity to learn Dutch, French, and English from a certain age, and in some cases, taking classes in all three languages is mandatory.

“In the French-speaking education system in Brussels, less than 10% of pupils graduate with a decent knowledge of Dutch. We need to make sure all children get the chance to really learn other languages,” Fouad Ahidar, Chai of the Council of the Flemish Community Commission and Member of the Brussels Parliament, told The Brussels Times. Read more.

3. Brussels residents can already print a vaccination certificate

Residents of the Brussels region can now print a copy of a certificate of vaccination, while the planned European Digital Green Certificate is still in preparation.

Via the Brussels Health Network website, anyone who has been vaccinated in the last 48 hours can print a document in English, Dutch or French (or all three) to show when and with what they have been vaccinated. Read more.

4. Manhunt for heavily armed professional soldier, virologist Marc Van Ranst brought to safety

On Tuesday, police conducted an hour-long manhunt in Limburg, searching for a heavily armed man who made threats against virologist Marc Van Ranst.

The suspect is a professional soldier from the barracks of Peutie, said to be armed with a rocket launcher, a machine gun and an ordinary pistol. Read more.

5. One shot of coronavirus vaccine may be enough to travel within EU

People who have received just one shot of a coronavirus vaccine may be able to use proof of vaccination on the Digital Green Certificate to travel between the European Union member states. Read More.

6. C-sections: Belgium’s numbers are higher than WHO recommends

Belgium is seeing steadily fewer births, but the proportion of those births that take place with a caesarian section is increasing to such an extent it now exceeds the recommended limit set by the World Health Organisation. Read More.

7. First batch of Grand Finalists in Eurovision Song Contest 2021 includes Belgium

The Eurovision Song Contest started yesterday evening with the first Semi-Final, resulting in the selection of 10 qualifiers to the Grand Final on Saturday. Read More.