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Limburg Taskforce prepares action plan

The 21-strong Limburg Taskforce led by Flemish minister-president Kris Peeters CD&V was inaugurated at the Hasselt Province House yesterday. Its main objective is to get the province back on track by means of an economic reorientation once Ford Genk closes. The way forward is currently under investigation by a 13-member team of experts led by Herman Daems, president of the BNP Paribas Fortis banking group. They have until late January to come up with an innovative strategic plan for the province, entitled Strategisch Actieplan Limburg in het Kwadraat SALK. During the first meeting hosted by governor Herman Reynders at the province house yesterday, they discussed possible ways to take over the Ford Genk premises and buildings, and how employees at the factory and their suppliers could be supported to find new employment and perhaps even training or retraining towards a new job. Other points that were touched on included ways in which to help existing businesses grow, how to attract new business activity, infrastructural shortcomings and ways to facilitate technological innovation in the province, and obviously financing for all these plans. No concrete decisions have been made. In mid-January the Taskforce meets again to discuss an interim report of the group of experts.