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Verhofstadt demands gas blast compensation

7 September 2004

BRUSSELS – Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has issued a 48-hour ultimatum to insurance companies to compensate the victims of the Ghislenghien gas blast.

At a meeting on Monday with the main insurers and the company that manages Belgium’s underground gas network, Fluxys, Verhofstadt said he wanted a solution to be found by Wednesday.

If the deadline is not met, the Prime Minister will table new measures to push the insurance companies to comply.

A new meeting has been scheduled for 11am on Wednesday at Verhofstadt’s offices in rue de la Loi, Brussels.

“The aim of Monday’s meeting was to find a way of releasing urgent financial aid for the dozens of victims who were not insured,” said Verhofstadt.

The Ghislenghien gas blast on 30 July claimed 21 lives and injured over one hundred people, many of them seriously.

The financial aid, which could rise to “several hundreds of thousands of euros,” would target the immediate needs of the victims, including medical aid and compensation for losses in salary.

It could be recovered by the insurance companies once the final burden of responsibility was established, the Prime Minister continued.

“The aim is to make money available directly,” said Verhofstadt, adding, “We
cannot continue just to leave people to their fate.”

Verhofstadt warned that he would table his own solution “with the help of parliament” if the insurers failed to come up with the goods.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news