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Belgium in Brief: Good Night, Train

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It really is disappointing that every time I see a headline about night trains in Europe the news seems to be negative.

There was a time where it felt as if we all would be able to jump on a train to other parts of Europe once the pandemic was all over. But setbacks, delays, and cancellations seem to be all we now have to show for these expectations.

Sure, the situation we find ourselves in is not quite normal yet, but the few flights I’ve been on since the pandemic have certainly had me thinking I wouldn’t mind a sleeper service to go somewhere new.

The difficulty for those of us not from Belgium is that most trips centre around going home, which often requires ill-timed flights. But what if there was another way?

I miss the days when I could jump on a train after university on a Friday in Aberdeen and be back in Glasgow about 3 hours later.

Maybe if we can get this night train situation together this sort of home journey might finally be feasible (for many of you, probably not for me).

So I guess that leads to the question – Would you take a night train (or just a normal train) instead of a plane, if the option was there?

Let @johnstonjules know (or email me

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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. ‘Tired and angry’: ICU nurses at Brussels hospital say spirits have sunk

The nurses of the intensive care unit of the University hospital in Brussels (UZ Brussel) voice their feeling that they have been left out in the cold during the pandemic and that the limits of what is reasonable have long been exceeded. Read more.

2. Tackling sexual harassment in Belgium is ‘joint responsibility’, police says

Credit: Plan International

More than nine in ten girls and women have experienced sexual harassment in public spaces in Belgium, a recent study shows, but as 94% of incidents aren’t reported to the police, the problem has for a long time seemed non-existent to those tasked with solving it.  Read More

3. New rules for highly qualified immigrants who want to work in Europe

The changes include more flexible admission criteria, a lower threshold for the minimum salary that must be earned in order to qualify, and more rights for beneficiaries and their families, such as more freedom to move within the EU and faster family reunification. Read more.

4. Pukkelpop organiser under financial investigation

Chokri Mahassine, the main organiser behind the Pukkelpop music festival, is under investigation for possible financial irregularities in the organisation, Het Nieuwsblad reports. Read more.

5. Planned night train from Belgium to Austrian Alps currently ‘not possible’

“There is a potential risk that travelling through Europe could get harder in the next months and this risk is too big to take at the moment, or to get insured,” Kristof Blomme of OVOE told The Brussels Times. “So we have to put these trains on hold until next year.” Read more.

6. Sex workers in northern Brussels demand more police on streets

In light of the death of Nigerian sex worker Eunice Osayande, who was brutally murdered by a 17-year-old client in 2018, an ethnographic study on sex work in the area by the University of Ghent (UGent) was commissioned by the city of Schaerbeek. Read more.

7. Parliament demands equal social protection for gig workers

Members of the European Parliament voted today to demand fair and equal social protection for employees of platform-work companies, like Uber and Deliveroo. Read more.

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