Belgian news in brief, 18 July 2005

18th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

EU farmers protest in Brussels

EU farmers protest in Brussels

Between 5,000 and 7,000 European sugar beet farmers demonstrated in the EU quarter in Brussels on Monday. The farmers were protesting against EU reform plans in which the European Commission wants to cut the price farmers are paid. Sugar beet farmers receive a guaranteed price for their crop, but this will be drastically cut under the EC plans. The reforms will pave the way for unrestricted imports of sugar from the Third World, but the international development organisation Oxfam Solidariteit said this will chiefly benefit the big sugar refineries. Farmers' demonstrations have a history of causing trouble in the Belgian capital, but Monday's demonstration passed without incident.

Fortis bank accounts frozen

One of Belgium's leading banks Fortis, has frozen the accounts of 150,000 of its customers, Flemish financial daily 'De Tijd' reported. The customers hit by the bank's action failed to provide Fortis with a copy of their identity card. New rules introduced at the start of last year forced banks to gather more information about their customers in a bid to combat money laundering and terrorism. All of the effected customers have not provided the bank with information required by law to open or hold a bank account.

10 killed in weekend traffic accidents

Another tragic weekend on Belgian roads saw 10 people killed and six injured in seven accidents. The worst accident took place in Dottignies, near Kortrijk, on Sunday morning when four people were killed and two were seriously injured. The motorist lost control of the car when overtaking and the vehicle slammed against a light pole. The driver and three people were killed, while two others were seriously hurt.

Belgium dances as one

Thousands of people in 12 towns and cities throughout Belgium took to the streets on Saturday night as Belgium danced as one to celebrate the nation's 175th birthday. Flemish, Francophone and German-speakers were united by the event 'Belgium Dances'. King Albert and Queen Paola attended the event in the West Flemish town of Ieper. Twelve towns were selected for 'Belgium Dances' to reflect the geographical and linguistic diversity of the country. Not only did each of the country's 10 provinces join in, but also each of Belgium's three language communities were involved.

[Copyright Expatica News + VRT 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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