7 September 2004
BRUSSELS – Belgium’s new electronic identity card scheme has suffered more setbacks, it was reported on Tuesday.
The Brussels commune of Schaerbeek, the sixth largest in the country in terms of population, has refused to start issuing the cards due to lack of staff and money.
Promises from the Interior Ministry of five extra personnel to help with the administrative burden at Schaerbeek commune have now fallen through.
“We have just received confirmation without any justification that we will not be given even one extra staff member as no civil servant in the first
selection test chose our commune,” said Bernard Guillaume from Schaerbeek.
He added that the necessary material for the new cards had not been sent either, prompting the commune’s decision not to start issuing the cards.
The distribution was scheduled to start on 15 October, at a rate of 85 cards every day.
This would have allowed the operation to finish in five years, but this timetable would now be impossible, said Guillaume.
The Schaerbeek authorities believe the services of Interior Minister Patrick Dewael have behaved in a “completely scandalous” way.
The commune’s mayor, Bernard Clerfayt, will raise the issue at the next meeting of Brussels mayors.
He said that the majority of communes had not been given the personnel they were promised.
Dewael’s spokesman said that extra staff would be sent to Schaerbeek from 1 October but he could not confirm how many.
He added that the material would also be sent for this time period.
The government has set a 2007 deadline for the distribution of all electronic cards.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news