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Language issue could halt recruitment of firefighters
The hiring of new firefighters and parademics in Brussels could have to be put on hold this summer - for a typically Belgian reason: negotiations over language.
The city's fire and emergency medical service Siamu has a legal framework defining how many French and Dutch-speakers it employs. But the last agreement expired in 2017 and an extended deadline of 30 June to approve a new text will likely be missed.
Belgium's Council of State has required Brussels firefighters to keep a tally of how many French and Dutch-speaking emergency scenes they attend - a move described as "operational nonsense" by one trade union. The results have been forwarded to the state secretary in charge of the Siamu, Cécile Jodogne.
According to RTBF, it could take another six months before any new language framework comes into force. It must be approved by a committee on bilingualism, then trade unions, then approved at second reading by the regional government.
The absence of a language framework would prevent any promotion or recruitment within the fire service. RTBF adds: "Such a blockage may cause additional tensions and frustrations that Siamu does not need."