Verhofstadt backs DHL Zaventem expansion
19 January 2004
BRUSSELS – Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt wants international courier firm DHL to keep its European head office in Belgium, ideally at Zaventem international airport near Brussels.
Speaking after this weekend’s two-day government meeting near Gembloux Verhofstadt told reporters “DHL must keep its headquarters in Belgium, preferably in Brussels.”
DHL wants to expand its operations at Zaventem airport but is facing stiff opposition from local residents who fear an increase in aircraft noise, especially at night.
The courier firm has warned that if it doesn’t get its way it could shift its European ‘hub’ to another country and take thousands of jobs with it.
In a bid to placate both DHL and its anti-noise opponents, Verhofstadt this weekend suggested a compromise solution to the problem.
Until September 2004, DHL could be allowed to expand its operations, he argued.
Then, if no amicable solution to the problem could be found, the government would look into whether the courier firm should move to another airport.
Many critics argue however that once DHL has begun to expand its operations, it will, in reality be extremely difficult to stop the process.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Belgian news