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Deadline on fire brigade reform plan

Published on 02/08/2005

2 August 2005

BRUSSELS — A decision over reforms to the nation’s fire brigade and civil protection authorities will be made by the end of the year, Interior Minister Patrick Dewael has said.

The minister said fire brigade and emergency services zones will be drawn up, similar to those used for the nation’s police corps.

And Dewael also said despite the fact several mayors are opposed to the plans, the reforms cannot be held back, newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported on Tuesday.

At the commemorative service for the Ghislenghien gas disaster on the weekend, there was talk that the minister’s reform agenda had come to a standstill.
Dewael admitted that Ghislenghien had added impetus to the reform plans, but also stressed that it was politically easier to obtain funding for reforms after the gas explosion on 30 July 2004.
He also said dynamism for change was still present and that the Paulus Commission is now drawing up reform plans together with the fire brigade and the civil protection authorities.

The Liberal VLD minister was referring to moves to organise emergency services into three levels: namely a ‘basic emergency service’ at a local level, a provincial level with emergency services zones and also a federal level.

The minister’s comments came after the nation’s fire brigade services warned last week they would not be able to cope in a large-scale disaster if structural reform was not carried out.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news