Belgium Press Review: 4 November 2008

4th November 2008, Comments 0 comments

Highlights of the latest news in the Belgian press.

Tour operator responsible for accident in Egypt?
Het Nieuwsblad /Vlaamse Ardennen - Gentse Rand ; Monday 03 November 2008 ; p.4
The consumer organisation Test-Aankoop said the Bruges tour operator Escape would be held responsible for the bus accident which caused 6 fatalities should it appear that the Egyptian driver of the bus was speeding. "If something goes wrong, the tour operator offering the travel package is held responsible", Hans De Coninck, tourism expert of Test-Aankoop said.

Kivu: Europe tries to find a diplomatic solution, but sends no combat troops
De Morgen ; Monday 03 November 2008 ; p.3
European’s top politicians launched a diplomatic offensive over the weekend to prevent an escalation of the war in the Eastern Congo. The Ministers for Foreign Affairs of France and the UK, Bernard Kouchner and David Miliband, and the European Commissioner, Louis Michel succeeded in convincing the Congolese and Rwandan presidents, Joseph Kabila and Paul Kagame to participate in peace talks in Nairobi.

Karel De Gucht, the Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister pleaded for the strengthening of the blue helmets' mandate. According to De Gucht the rule that UN peace troops may only operate in cooperation with the Congolese government army, is no longer viable.

Ideological row over right to strike
De Standaard /Vlaams-Brabant/Brussel ; Monday 03 November 2008 ; p.22
The social conflict at Carrefour has caused a major row between the employers' federation Voka and the unions over the use of  picket lines. The warehouse chain group Carrefour succeeded in obtaining a court order last Friday to dismantle the strikers' picket lines at ten hypermarkets and free access to clients and to employees willing to work.

The Christian union ACV called it "unacceptable'" that employers go to court to `break strikes'. Professors in labour law and politicians beg to differ on the matter. Othmar Vanachter (KULeuven) believes picket lines are legal "when they are peaceful", while his emeritus colleague Roger Blanpain said that they were "illegal, as they impede the right to work".

Commuters point the finger at punctuality
Monday 03 November 2008; Le Soir Online
 article (in French)

Commuters are very satisfied with SNCB personnel on the trains but unhappy about regularity according to the 3-monthly satisfaction survey carried out on a site dedicated to commuters and SNCB customers ( .

Almost a third of the complaints received were about time-keeping and 23% pointed out that there was over-crowding on several lines at rush-hour.

One commuter commented “I have commuted between Huy and Brussels North for 14 years. Delays have reached chronic point!”


Sources: Le Soir and

(expatica November 2008)

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