Expatica news

Eurocrat fur flies in Brussels airport row

12 February 2004

BRUSSELS – Plans to re-route some night flights from Zaventem airport just outside Brussels have sparked a furious internal row among European Commission officials.

Last month Belgian Transport minister Bert Anciaux suggested increasing the number of routes planes take when flying out of Zaventem at night. The basic idea was to reduce noise nuisance for Brussels residents who lived under the airport’s existing flight paths.

But the suggestion has been met with anger by certain eurocrats who live in Brussels wealthy eastern suburbs. They complain plans to route some night flights over their expensive houses will lead property values to drop and cause a severe nuisance.

One of the European Commission’s smaller staff unions, the TAO-AFI, has taken up their cause and recently wrote to both Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and Foreign Minister Louis Michel to complain about Ancieux’s plans.

“If you are ever planning to work in the European institutions, you may well end up meeting some very hostile employees,” the union warned the two men.

But many other European officials are furious with what they see as the TAO-AFI’s arrogant ‘not in my back yard’ attitude.

Several of these angry employees have even published an article in the Commission’s internal newspaper vehemently criticising the TAO-AFI outburst.

“Doesn’t the TAO-AFI realise that EU officials do not always have a very good reputation in the eyes of the Belgian population? Do they think this letter will help dispel this misunderstanding?” they asked angrily.

The article went on to say that TAO-AFI should apologise to Verhofstadt and Michel.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Belgian news