Belgian news in brief, 21 February 2006

21st February 2006, Comments 0 comments

Trade surplus falls by 90pc, Belgium's balance of trade surplus fell by more than 90 percent last year, the national statistics office said. Higher oil prices and wage costs are said to have led to the fall. Exports exceeded imports by EUR 18 billion in 2002, but that figure fell to EUR 0.7 billion in 2005. In 2004, the surplus was EUR 8.2 billion.

Trade surplus falls by 90pc

Belgium's balance of trade surplus fell by more than 90 percent last year, the national statistics office said. Higher oil prices and wage costs are said to have led to the fall. Exports exceeded imports by EUR 18 billion in 2002, but that figure fell to EUR 0.7 billion in 2005. In 2004, the surplus was EUR 8.2 billion.

Growing bird flu concerns

The call centre of the federal government's influenza commission has seen a sharp rise in calls in the past few days. Since the avian flu virus was found in France and Germany, there have been more than 300 calls per day. That is normally the average for an entire week. Callers are primarily concerned about prevention measures they should take and what to do if they see a dead bird.

Minister imposes ethnicity quota

Flemish Culture, Youth, Sports and Brussels Minister Bert Anciaux wants every department he presides over to have in employment at least one university graduate with a mixed "ethnic-cultural" background. The deadline is June 2008. Various advisory and assessment councils will also need to have non-Western European immigrants making up 10 percent of their workforce.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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