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Here's what changes in Belgium on 1 July
July might be the time when Belgium starts to slow down for the summer - but 1 July brings a whole range of changes to daily life here, from transport to consumer rights.
- Brussels' longest road tunnel, Leopold II, is closed all summer long as renovation works enter their second phase. The tunnel, which is used by 80,000 vehicles a day, will be totally closed to traffic in July and August. Bus and tram lines in the area have been reinforced and recommended diversions are displayed on roadside signs. The Sainctelette junction, near the canal, will be turned into a roundabout.
- Self-employed? A new tax-efficient pension scheme called the CPTI has launched in Belgium to complement the existing PLCI. Premiums paid into the scheme attract a 30% tax credit.
- A European directive on package holidays, which was transposed into Belgian law last winter, came into force on 1 July. The law gives better rights to consumers who buy package holidays online, making it easier to cancel a trip without penalty.
- The kilometre tax applied to goods vehicles in Flanders and Brussels increased slightly - by just over 1% - on 1 July. Wallonia will increase its rates next January.
- Air Belgium has introduced a third weekly return flight on its recently launched maiden route from Charleroi to Hong Kong. Flights now run on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays - and a fourth weekly flight is expected from October.
- Late paying a bill? From 1 July, providers cannot hit you with a late payment penalty until they send a second reminder letter. The first late payment notice has no fee attached - and total debt recovery costs must not exceed 15% of the bill amount.
- More changes to the driving test in Wallonia come into force, including a new mandatory risk perception test which will be taken inbetween the theory and practical exams. The region is also introducing new measures allowing candidates to fast-track their driving tuition and obtain their licence quicker if there is an urgent need, such as for work or to care for a relative.
- And finally... Going on holiday in France - or via France? The speed limit on secondary roads has been cut from 90 to 80kph.