The Belgian news in June 2006

5th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

The Belgian news in June 2006

1 June 2006
Workers from new EU states now welcome

Belgium opens its doors to workers from the new EU member states to fill chronic shortages in various trades and professions. While the federal government opted earlier this year to maintain restrictions on workers from the new member states, it also allowed companies to recruit staff from the new member states to perform jobs where a shortage of workers exists.

1 June 2006
AEL acquitted of forming private militia

AEL leader Dyab Abou Jahjah

Antwerp Court orders Arab European League (AEL) leaders Dyab Abou Jahjah, Ahmed Azzuz and Youssef Rahimi to stand trial for their role in the Borgerhout race riots after the murder of Mohamed Achrak in 2002. But the court rejected public prosecution demands to place them on trial on charges they operated as a private militia keeping tabs on police during the same period.

1 June 2006
Summer? No, the coldest 1 June on record

The summer gets of to a bad start, recording the coldest 1 June on record with a maximum temperature of just 10 degrees Celsius both in Brussels and along the coast. The previous record dates back to 1986 when the mercury didn't rise above 11.8 degrees Celsius. Maximum temperatures at this time of year are usually about 20 degrees.

2 June 2006
Foreigners 'excluded' from online tax system

Online taxes?

The Finance Ministry admits that foreigners living in Belgium cannot automatically lodge their 2005 tax returns online via the federal government's Tax-on-Web programme. Foreign residents will instead have to personally report to the offices of the government's information and communications technology department, Fedict, to obtain the necessary access code. That requirement applies to both EU and non-EU nationals living legally in Belgium.

6 June 2006
Job agencies to exchange vacancy data 

The regions of Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia are to start the systematic exchange of information over job vacancies in bid to primarily fill chronic work shortages. The project is aimed at giving employers more possibilities to find suitable staff and to help jobless workers become employed. The regional jobs agencies will co-operate on the project.

7 June 2006
Alternatives for detention of refugee minors

Interior Minister Patrick Dewael is prepared to examine alternatives to the current practice of housing asylum seeker youths in refugee detention centres. The Liberal VLD minister made the promise during a public hearing on reforms to Belgium's asylum policies and the Council of State. But he also warned that the issue has been debated at length in the past without an alternative being put forward. He said a decision had been made in the past aimed at improving conditions in refugee detention centres.

7 June 2006
Overtaking ban imposed on trucks

A special federal Cabinet meeting decides against imposing an 80kmh speed limit on trucks. The Socialist SP.A had been in favour of the reduced speed limit, citing a study that indicated traffic deaths would fall by 8 percent and truck exhaust emissions would fall. But the Liberal VLD and the transport sector were opposed to the speed limit, claiming that it would cost the sector EUR 104 million. A compromise was eventually reached to impose an overtaking ban on all trucks travelling on two-lane motorways.

8 June 2006
Immigration, naturalisation rates on the rise

Some 72,000 foreigners moved to Belgium in 2004, an increase on previous years, an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development study has revealed. But the number of foreign residents has declined to 8.4 percent of the population compared with an average of 9 percent in the 1990s. The OECD study said the decline in the number of

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