Expatica news

Belgian news in brief, 1 February 2006

Belgium bows out of Arcelor debate

The Belgian government has decided against waging a battle over ownership of steel firm Arcelor, which rejected a takeover bid from Mittal Steel earlier this week. The government will campaign for jobs, investment and the fulfilling of promises, but has resolved it would have little impact on an ownership debate. If all government shares were tallied together, Belgium would own just 11 percent of Arcelor, too little to have much of a say. 

Most bag snatchings in Brussels

There were 3,055 thefts of handbags in public places in Belgium in 2004. Half of the crimes (1,680) took place in greater Brussels, Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx said. In 2003, there were 3,512 bag snatchings and 1,772 in 2002. In 2004, there 383 arrests, 491 in 2003 and 211 in 2002.
Marriage made easier

Starting from 1 February, any Belgian national wishing to get married will no longer need to personally obtain all of the necessary papers, such as a birth certificate. Instead, a public servant will look the details up in the government’s central database or obtain the information from other municipalities. This regulation only applies to Belgian nationals, however, there is some good news for expats: the administrative cost of getting married has also been reduced.

New budget airline in Liège

A new budget airline will start operating at the Liège-Bierset Airport in April. The airline, Ireland’s Aer Arann, will offer flights to London Luton and Birmingham in the UK and Lorient in France. Aer Arann is already active in the UK and Ireland. It offers one continental destination from the UK, namely Lorient in Bretagne (France).

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news