13 June 2005

13th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

Welcome to the first edition of Expatica's daily, morning overview of the top stories in Belgian newspapers.

Welcome to the first edition of Expatica's daily, morning overview of the top stories in Belgian newspapers.

PM to shift tax focus

Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt is working on a 'crisis plan' aimed at shifting the emphasis on tax away from workers' income towards consumption. The Belgian government hopes to restore international confidence in the Belgium economy, Flemish newspaper 'De Morgen' reported. The shift towards taxes on consumption will entail higher BTW rates, (VAT in English). Labour-intensive sectors such as construction and the hotel and catering industry will be exempted.

No compulsory smoke detectors

Smoke detectors will become compulsory in rental homes in Brussels next month and in every home in Walloon from next summer. In Flanders, however, regulations requiring homes to have a smoke detector will in future lapse because the Flemish government has failed to live up to its promise of providing them for free, 'Het Nieuwsblad' wrote. Some 25,000 fires are reported in Belgium each year, leading to 120 deaths and 900 injuries, the consumer information centre OIVO said.

No crime too old

The Flemish urban development inspectorate is to open 30-year-old dossiers and summon property owners to court for breaches of regulations that went unpunished in the past. The inspectorate is being sparked into action by the Flemish government, which is to establish a high council next month for cases of redress. It means town planning authorities will lose their autonomous right to take action against breaches of building regulations and will first need to submit advice to the high council, newspaper 'Het Laatse Nieuws' reported.

Talks over worker retention 

Unions and employer groups will meet on Monday at the invitation of the federal government to discuss about 15 proposals aimed at lengthening the amount of time Belgian workers are employed. Currently, the average of 45 working years is the lowest in Europe, French-language newspaper 'La Libre' writes.  

Friends held over deadly overdose

Newspaper 'De Standaard' carried a report on Monday about the overdose death of a 24-year-old man in Antwerp on Friday night. Three of the victim's friends, all of them from Kruibeke, have been arrested. Two of the suspects, aged 23 and 21, are accused of secretly dissolving drugs in a glass of cola and giving it to the victim. The man later became unwell, but died before medical staff could treat him. An autopsy has revealed the man died from a drug overdose.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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