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IMF says Belgian reforms good step, but more is needed

16.12.14 @ 09:28

The Belgian government is planning “many welcome measures to address the critical macroeconomic challenges facing the Belgian economy”, but it can do more, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Monday (15 ...

OpinionBrussels on strike: Rich city, poor citizens

15.12.14 @ 09:20

Brussels is the second richest region in Europe. It has been in the top three for decades now. But right now 34 percent of its population is living in poverty. The unemployment figure is around 20 percent, 30 percent ...

Belgium paralysed by general strike

15.12.14 @ 09:09

The entire Belgian airspace is closed on Monday (15 December), as well as high-speed trains from Brussels to London, Paris and Amsterdam and local buses, trams and metro lines, as part of a general strike over public ...

Belgium asks for solidarity to prevent electricity blackouts

09.12.14 @ 09:23

As Belgium struggles to keep the lights on this winter, even the penguins and sea-lions will be doing their bit to help. After several of its nuclear reactors had to be taken offline, the country is facing the ...

Belgium in talks on joint EU recognition of Palestine

05.12.14 @ 08:51

Belgium is on course to join a new group of EU countries calling for Palestine recognition. Its federal parliament is expected to vote next week on a draft motion asking the Belgian government to do it at a future point ...

Harsh winter could spell trouble for Belgium's electricity supply

02.12.14 @ 09:28

A Belgian nuclear reactor which was shut down over the weekend after electrical cables caught fire was reconnected to the grid on Tuesday (2 December). Although the temporary shut-down of the reactor, Tihange 3, did not ...

'Haiku Herman' quietly leaves EU stage

01.12.14 @ 09:27

EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy on Monday (1 December) is handing over the baton to Polish ex-prime minister Donald Tusk. It is a minimalist event: a handshake, a few words, followed by a little drink with the staff ...

Belgian government under fire in its first week

16.10.14 @ 09:26

In his first week as prime minister of Belgium, Charles Michel has had to condemn collaboration with the Nazis in World War II following controversy over two of his cabinet members. Jan Jambon, minister of security and ...

Deal reached on centre-right government in Belgium

08.10.14 @ 08:48

Political negotiators in Belgium reached an agreement for a centre-right coalition government Tuesday (7 October), 135 days after general elections. Compared to the previous government formation, negotiators got there ...

Europe should never be 'tired' of peace

04.08.14 @ 19:37

EU leaders attending a commemoration of World War One on Monday (4 August) evoked the fragility of peace and importance of learning the lessons of a hundred years ago. Representatives from across Europe gathered in the ...

Doubts emerge on Belgium’s counter-terror group

10.07.14 @ 09:28

Sweden has opted out of Belgium’s new counter-terrorism scheme amid internal debate on the merits of the plan. The Belgian interior ministry earlier this week said Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Spain, The ...

Post EU ElectionsDeja vu as Belgian coalition talks break down

26.06.14 @ 09:28

One month after national elections in Belgium, the process of forming a new government is going nowhere. The lead negotiator and chairman of the Flemish nationalist N-VA party, Bart De Wever, returned his mandate to ...

Brussels flightpath politics cause public furore

24.06.14 @ 09:06

Thousands of people living in Brussels are up in arms about a new overflight plan in place since February which has seen the east and west parts of the city subject to the thundering noise of planes taking off and ...

Belgian king gives coalition-forming mandate to Flemish republican

27.05.14 @ 20:49

Will the man who wants the end of Belgium be the next Belgian prime minister? In a land where absurdity is a form of art, it's not impossible. King Philippe on Tuesday (27 May) asked N-VA chairman Bart De Wever to " ...

Belgian and EU politicians condemn Brussels shooting

24.05.14 @ 20:30

Belgian and EU politicians have reacted with shock and anger to the news that three people were shot dead and one seriously injured in a shooting at the Jewish museum in Brussels. The shooting happened just before 4pm ...

Post EU ElectionsBelgium, Spain, France field most senior MEPs in EU vote

19.05.14 @ 09:28

Is the European Parliament an important institution to which political heavyweights should be sent? Or is it a place for potential talent to learn the metier, away from their member state's capital? Opinions on the ...

Belgians face toughest tax burden in EU

07.05.14 @ 09:44

Belgians are the highest taxed workers in the EU and will have to wait until August before they can pay off the taxman, according to research published on Tuesday (6 May). The study by New Direction, a conservative ...

Post EU ElectionsBelgians' pride in EU role quells euroscepticism

06.05.14 @ 09:15

Belgians are more in favour of the EU than other Europeans but there are few 'take-home' lesson for other member states looking to quell rising euroscepticism. Seventy percent of them see themselves as EU-citizens and ...

Post EU ElectionsEU elections may strengthen Putin in Europe

23.04.14 @ 09:29

Far-right parties are set to do well in next month’s elections to the European Parliament, a fact that has thrown a spotlight on their links with the Kremlin. A recent study by the Budapest-based Political Capital ...

Post EU ElectionsBelgium's biggest party has no allies in the EP

22.04.14 @ 09:25

With one month to go until the EU vote, it is clear that Belgium's biggest political party will have several MEPs but unclear whether it will wield any real influence in the next European Parliament. The Flemish ...

Post EU ElectionsFrom Slovakia to Belgium: a story of failing Roma policy

09.04.14 @ 10:02

A few weeks ago city authorities in Ghent, a vibrant city in the north of Belgium, were given a blunt warning. Social NGO Caritas Catholica told the municipality that hundreds or even thousands of Roma were about to ...

Post EU ElectionsDutch extremists in disarray after anti-Moroccan chant

24.03.14 @ 09:29

Will extreme right parties in Europe finally succeed in forming a group in the European Parliament? Chances were looking good until last Wednesday (19 March) when Dutch politician Geert Wilders led an anti-Moroccan ...

Post EU ElectionsBelgian PM feels the heat from left

24.02.14 @ 17:41

In Belgium the EU elections take place on the same day as the national and regional elections - a day that won't be a picnic for Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo. His socialist party (PS) is doing badly in opinion polls. The ...

Post EU ElectionsSuper Sunday: Belgians vote local, national, and European on same day

12.02.14 @ 10:59

Even in a loyal member state like Belgium, criticism of the EU has been on the rise in recent years. But most people - and their political representatives - remain staunchly pro-European This puts Bart De Wever, the ...

MEPs pressure Belgium on Afghan asylum seekers in Brussels

23.01.14 @ 18:43

Two MEPs are seeking parliament-wide support to pressure the Belgian government not to expel Afghans living rough in a Brussels-city-centre church. The head of the parliament’s leftist GUE group, Gabi Zimmer, along with ...

EU officials flesh out 'reform contracts' plan

19.11.13 @ 09:29

EU officials are in the process of putting flesh on the bones of a German idea of "reform contracts," but it is going to be difficult to sell. It builds on the premise that for all the efforts the EU has made to shore ...

Interview'National governments declining in importance'

17.10.13 @ 09:19

As more key powers are transferred to Brussels, it poses an existential question for central governments. A recent study on public finances by the European Commission found that member states, even traditionally ...

FocusBrussels: An EU capital in the making

15.10.13 @ 09:26

It is possible to go to the European quarter in Brussels and think: how on earth did this happen? Why are there two motorways running between the European Commission headquarters and the European Parliament? Did city ...

Belgacom downplays UK hacking allegations at EU hearing

04.10.13 @ 09:29

Belgian telecommunications firm Belgacom has played down revelations it was hacked by British intelligence. The state-owned company, which supplies services to EU institutions and whose subsidiary, Bics, handles data ...

EU officials feel little love for Brussels, survey says

09.07.13 @ 09:27

Expats who work for EU institutions in Brussels have few Belgian friends, think the city is "dirty" and plan to go home when their job ends. Municipal authorities in the EU capital published the findings on Monday (8 ...

Van Rompuy to retire from EU politics next year

18.03.13 @ 09:01

EU council chief Herman Van Rompuy on Sunday (17 March) said he will retire from politics when his mandate ends next year. "At the end of 2014, it's the end of my political career," the former Belgian prime minister ...

VideoActivists barge in on EU's economic headquarters

15.03.13 @ 15:14

While EU leaders met in Brussels for their traditional spring summit, thousands of trade unionists staged an afternoon of events to protest against austerity measures.

FocusAntwerp tax on foreigners attracts EU attention

28.02.13 @ 09:24

The city of Antwerp, in the Flemish-speaking north of Belgium, has imposed a special fee on ID cards for non-Belgians, including EU citizens, in a bid, according to one politician, to keep out foreigners. Non-Belgians ...

OpinionTowards a plausible EU response to breakaway regions

08.01.13 @ 09:52

Despite claims to the contrary, the EU is essentially a union of nation states, and it will remain such until there is a radical overhaul of the acquis communautaire, which, at present at least, is not foreseen. There ...

Balkan visa-free regime under scrutiny

06.12.12 @ 09:29

EU ministers of interior are set to discuss visa policy in Brussels on Thursday (6 December) with several member states wanting to reintroduce visas for passport holders from Western Balkan countries. Austria, Belgium, ...

AnalysisEU regionalist parties - speech is silver, silence is golden?

08.10.12 @ 08:43

“A new state, if it wants to join the European Union, has to apply to become a member of the European Union like any state” European Commission President Barroso said mid-September. He was replying to a question on ...

Belgian diplomat suspected of being Russian spy

05.10.12 @ 18:07

The Belgian foreign ministry has suspended one of its people in Denmark due to a "security breach," amid reports he is a Russian spy. A Belgian spokesman told EUobserver on Friday (5 October): "We can confirm that an ...

French tax exiles flock to EU capital

27.09.12 @ 13:40

Marc Goldbrenner, a top salesman at Lecobel, a real estate agent in the Belgian and EU capital, says he has two or three meetings a week with French "fiscal exiles" keen to flee President Francois Hollande's new rich ...

InterviewIntelligence chief: EU capital is 'spy capital'

17.09.12 @ 09:17

"I stopped meeting him for lunch because all he did was ask questions and he never said anything about himself," a diplomat on the EU Council's working group for post-Soviet countries once told this website about his ...

InterviewBelgian intelligence chief talks to EUobserver: transcript

17.09.12 @ 09:17

EUobserver: In what way does the VSSE co-operate with the EU institutions and Nato? Alain Winants: Belgium hosts the institutions of two major international bodies - the EU and Nato, which is a great privilege but it's ...

Thousands of cracks found in Belgian nuclear power plant

17.08.12 @ 09:26

Belgium’s nuclear safety chief, Willy De Roovere, on Thursday (16 August) said there could be thousands of cracks in the reactor vessel of the ageing Doel 3 nuclear reactor situated 25 km outside Antwerp and 3 km from ...

US shames EU bank on money laundering

07.08.12 @ 17:25

New York state authorities have exposed a 10-year-long scam by one of the EU's oldest banks to launder money for Iranian clients. Benjamin Lawsky, the superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial ...

Flemish nationalist offers anti-burqa reward

07.06.12 @ 09:29

The European Network Against Racism (Enar), an NGO based in Brussels, has condemned a Flemish nationalist for offering a reward of €250 to anybody who reports Burqa-wearing women to the Belgian police. Filip Dewinter, ...

Flanders tells Moroccan migrants how to behave

15.05.12 @ 17:28

A new immigration kit for Flanders tells would-be immigrants that it does not rain money in Belgium, while giving the impression that Flemings are healthy-eating, spontaneity-adverse creatures tucked up in bed by 10pm ...

FocusEU scientists 'suppliers for the economy'

08.05.12 @ 11:56

Barbara van Dyck, a young bio-engineer from Belgium, will on Tuesday (8 May) appear before a judge in the Flemish town of Dendermonde to refute the public prosecutor’s allegations of conspiracy, destruction of property ...

Video'We still want change'

30.04.12 @ 08:50

People from all over the world are expected to take to the streets on 12 May to celebrate the first anniversary of the Spanish 'indignado' movement protesting economic austerity measures. Brussels-based 'indignados' ...

Belgium urges EU-wide probe into activities of Syrian diplomats

23.04.12 @ 09:29

Belgium has asked EU countries to investigate whether Syrian diplomats are making threats against opposition members inside Europe. Michel Malherbe, a spokesman for Belgian foreign minister Didier Reynders, told this ...

Ministers ponder creation of EU super-president

20.04.12 @ 09:16

Ideas kicking around in a reflection group of select EU foreign ministers include merging the roles of the EU Council and European Commission presidents. A senior EU source told this website following a meeting of the ...

Belgian far-right launch anti-immigrant website

10.04.12 @ 18:26

Belgium's Flemish far-right party, the Vlaams Belang, has launched a website inciting people to denounce migrants suspected of criminal activity, such as working on the black or abusing social security benefits. ...

Syrian intelligence accused of threatening people in EU capital

02.04.12 @ 18:38

The Belgian foreign ministry is to investigate allegations that Syrian intelligence is terrorising Syrian opposition expats in the EU capital. Foreign minister Didier Reynders told Belgian Liberal MEP Louis Michel on ...