V-Europe is opposed to a draft bill drawn up by the federal Minister for the Economy, Kris Peeters (a Flemish Liberal), on compensation of victims of terrorism. La Libre Belgique is reporting the issue on Wednesday. The association for the victims of the attacks on 22 March 2016, in Brussels and Zaventem, believes that this draft bill goes against all of the association’s demands.
Me Nicolas Estienne, the personal injury barrister explains, “We demand that the state should take responsibility for compensation.” The current Belgian system as regards terrorist attacks compensation mixes state intervention through the Commission for Financial Support for Victims, and that of insurance companies. Mr Peeters’ draft bill, a copy of which has been received by V-Europe, only serves to strengthen the current system.
Me Estienne advances that the bill, in particular, anticipates, “that the compensation will be established by the government, with no opportunity for re-negociation or possible recourse to the courts.” Compensation for non-material damage, to be paid a year after a given attack at the very latest, “even if financial damages have not yet been paid” is also included. The provision has been requested by insurers.
V-Europe is instead arguing for a system similar to France. The French instituted a guarantee fund in the 1980s enabling complete redress, without any upper limit. Simply leaving compensation to the private sector, which has its profitability targets, is leading the association to fear a complicated system, where insurers may adopt different attitudes depending upon the given case.
The association lastly regrets not having been properly consulted about the proposals. Philippe Van Steenkiste, the President of V-Europe stresses, “We were listened to. However, each time new draft legislation came out, we noticed that we were moving in the opposite direction to the government.”