Belgian news in brief, 28 May 2008

28th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

Read on for the latest news roundup in Belgium on the Congolese/Belgian government crisis and how immigrant communities are worried about a new surge of violence.

28 May 2008

Kabila divides and rules in Belgium government
After the meeting of the core cabinet, Prime Minister Yves Leterme had a telephone conversation with the Congolese authorities.

According to De Morgen, he could not get hold of President Kabila and spoke to Prime Minister Antoine Gizenga instead.

Kabila stays in the remote Eastern Congolese city of Bukavu which cannot be reached easily. Gizenga will report to Kabila first before any form of contact with Kabila can be established.

In his conversation with Gizenga, Leterme confirmed that Belgium is committed to a “constructive dialogue” with Congo. At the same time, Leterme demanded that Congo abandoned its intention to close the Belgian consulates in Bukavu and Lubumbashi.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karel De Gucht, said he does not feel hopeful about the Congolese crisis on Tuesday.

But in the core cabinet, Minister of Development Cooperation Charles Michel had the guns out for De Gucht. In La Libre Belgique he called the statement of De Gucht unilateral: “All he does is to accuse the Congolese authorities”.

SMSs and blogs whip up emotions after rows in Anderlecht
Many people from the immigrant communities in Brussels fear that a new surge of violence may break out any moment, after the rows in Anderlecht last week.

The emotions are whipped up even more by instigating SMSs.
Immigrant youths firmly believe that the police were targeting them and not their opponents, the soccer hooligans on Friday.

"There is a new surge of violence on both sides, and everyone is carried along in the psychosis," according to Brussels MP Fouad Ahidar.

"All reason seems to vanish, and only cries to take the law in own hands are heard.' And no-one hesitates to distribute false information, for example that a veiled woman had allegedly been attacked near the Zuidstation. People are being mobilised to take part in new confrontations via the same circuit of SMSs and blogs."

New guidelines make takeovers of subsidiary companies fiscally neutral
Last Friday the federal government approved a bill on ‘across-border' mergers. This involves a European guideline which has not yet been instituted.

Until now, it has not been fiscally viable for Belgian companies to take over an external subsidiary through a merger. With the institution of the guideline such operation becomes fiscally neutral.

In future, foreign companies may also take over Belgian subsidiaries with less difficulty. The parent company still has to bid for a takeover but it is sufficient to have 75 percent of the shares in hand in order to take over the subsidiary.

In exchange, shareholders of the subsidiary will receive shares in the parent company.

Enterprises that already have a 75 percent shareholding may immediately proceed with the takeover. According to interest group for minority shareholders Deminor, the new legislation is much less interesting for the minority shareholders.

[Flanders Today / Expatica]

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