The Belgian news in April 2006

5th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

The Belgian news in April 2006

3 April 2006
Expat population around Brussels continues to grow  

A 2005 population study has indicated the number of non-Belgians living in the 'Flemish edge' around bilingual Brussels is still increasing. Also, EU nationals are increasingly buying houses instead of renting, intensifying pressure on the housing market. Liberal VLD MP Luk Van Biesen has urged the Flemish government to take initiatives to ensure that houses remain affordable for young Flemish people.

4 April 2006
80pc rise in trains running red lights

Rail still 'safe' despite concerns

Some 48 trains ran red lights last year, an increase of 80 percent compared with the 27 incidents recorded in 2002. Belgian Rail operator NMBS-SNCB said the figures should be seen in the "right context", representing 48 breaches out of a total of 1.3 million commuter trains in one year. In 99.99 percent of cases there is thus no problem. "The train remains an exceptionally safe means of transport," a spokesman said.

4 April 2006
Killer ghost driver was drink driving

The 'ghost driver' who caused the death of himself and three others in a collision on 26 March on the A54 motorway at Luttre had been drink driving. The Charleroi public prosecution office reveals. It had earlier been reported that the ghost driver, Marc Georges, 43, was driving without a licence.

5 April 2006
Fuel traders back out of instalment plan

In contrast to federal government promises, consumers are unable to pay their heating oil bills in instalments. The Federation of Fuel Traders (BRAFCO) has said the practice of spread payments is unfeasible. The scheme was part of a series of measures the government agreed on to compensate the public for the high cost of oil.

5 April 2006
Dutch couple 'wins' final surrogacy battle

Belgian surrogate baby at the centre of a drawn-out adoption battle will definitely stay with the Dutch couple currently taking care of the 13-month-old girl. The Utrecht youth welfare authority Bureau Jeugdzorg has indicated it will not appeal against a Dutch magistrate's decision transferring custody to the Dutch couple.

5 April 2006
Services industry drives record employment

The Belgian employment rate is at highest level ever, with 4.27 million employed and self-employed workers at the end of 2005. The National Bank (NBB) figures also indicated that there were 600,000 more employed workers in 2005 compared with 1985. Belgium has transformed itself in the past 20 years into a services economy as the dependence on manufacturing tapered off.

6 April 2006
Worker critical after high radiation dose

Man's hair started falling out after accident

A worker at a Wallonian company who was rushed to a Paris hospital after being exposed to a high dose of radiation on 11 March is in an acute, life-threatening condition. The 53-year-old Charleroi man was exposed to high doses of radiation for 20 seconds while inside a sterilisation installation. The man was later released from hospital on 20 April, but will remain under medical observation for the coming few weeks. Employer Sterigenics said the worker is in a good condition thanks to the specialist treatment in France.

7 April 2006
Just 89 non-EU expats are enrolled to vote
 
Four months before electoral rolls are closed for Belgium's October local council elections just six non-EU nationals have registered to vote in Brussels, 14 in Flanders and 69 in Wallonia. It is the first time that non-EU nationals will be allowed to vote in Belgium. To be eligible to vote, non-EU immigrants must have lived in Belgium for five years and need to sign an agreement promising to respect Belgian law.

7 April 2006
Missing toddler found safe in Wallonia

A heart-wr

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