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Dramatic drop in Belgian citizenship approvals

Only 1,775 people have obtained Belgian citizenship this year, it appears from figures released yesterday by MP Carina Van Cauter (pictured). In 2012, 45,000 people had acquired Belgian nationality, 38,000 of whom as the result of an application. For 2013, the figure currently stands at 1,775 - a...

Belgium’s richest 20% own 60% of country’s assets

European statistics reveal that 20% of Belgians own exactly 61.2% of the country’s assets, Le Soir reports today. Conversely, according to data released by the National Bank of Belgium, the bottom 20% only own 0.2% of Belgium’s wealth. "Belgium is characterised by an uneven distribution of wealth...

Italian minister receives European support against racism

Belgium's deputy prime minister Joëlle Milquet joined cabinet ministers from more than a dozen European countries at Rome’s Palazzo Chigi yesterday in a show of support for Italy's first black cabinet minister, who has been attacked with racist taunts ever since she was appointed in April. The...

Ghent is Belgium’s vegetarian capital

Ghent has been singled out as Belgium’s most veggie-friendly city by celebrated British vegetarian food writer Jane Hughes. “There's no history of meat-free eating in Belgium – even the chips are often cooked in lard,” she writes in the Guardian’s Word of Mouth blog . “Belgian vegetarian food makes...

Belgium picks Broken Circle Breakdown for Oscar race

Belgium has selected The Broken Circle Breakdown as its entry in the foreign-language film race at next year’s Academy Awards, writes Variety’s Shalini Dore . Directed by Ghent’s Felix van Groeningen, The Broken Circle Breakdown is a drama about the love affair between tattoo artist Elise (Veerle...

Mirror on the wall: Place du Miroir

Although the commercial heart of Jette is officially called Place Reine Astrid, nearly everyone refers to it by the name of Place du Miroir, a throwback to the days when it was home to a ‘house of mirrors’ on the spot where florist Demesmaeker (1 Chaussée de Wemmel) now sits. Clearly the...

Record number of injuries on Car Free Sunday

There was a record number of injuries requiring treatment by emergency services during yesterday’s Car Free Sunday, a spokesman for Brussels’ firefighters has revealed. While there were no serious accidents, many pedestrians and inexperienced cyclists suffered sprained ankles, broken feet or broken...

Fake passports for Belgian royal family

Members of the Belgian royal family have long travelled using ‘fake’ passports for security reasons, former foreign minister Mark Eyskens has revealed in the VTM programme Royalty. Not only passports but also other identity documents have been issued to some members of the royal family, allowing...

Scrapping lunch vouchers ‘would have serious consequences’

The Association of Voucher Issuers (VIA), which represents the interests of companies issuing prepaid vouchers has warned that scrapping meal tickets would have "serious economic and social consequences" for Belgian employees and employers alike. It follows a call by the minister for economy Johan...

Finance minister vows to scrap outdated & unfair taxes

Belgian finance minister Koen Geens has announced plans to abolish a raft of taxes deemed to be unfair, obsolete, or contrary to international law, writes Tax News’ Ulrika Lomas . Alluding to such levies as "plague taxes," Geens pledged to repeal any charges that yield little for the state, but...

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