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Belgian report Belgian report
by Euro Reporter
2008-06-25 10:12:44
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Working in the palace without …papers!

According to the Flemish daily De Standaard, three moonlighters have been caught at a building site at the Brussels Royal Palace. Two Polish and one French worker were caught red-handed while doing repair works on the royal roof. The labor inspection team called at the palace on Friday to check whether the safety regulations were observed. As it turned out, three of the six laborers could not produce the right papers.

It is believed that the palace construction site was neatly divided into a Flemish and a Walloon part to avoid bickering between the Flemish and Francophone. The Flemish building site employed three Polish workers. One of them, the site’s foreman, was registered with the labor inspection but his two colleagues were not. The Walloon construction team consisted of two Belgians and a Frenchman. The latter could not be traced in the labor inspection database either.

It was a royal illegal immigration all the way!


The first divorce fair

Belgium’s first divorce fair in the Antwerp municipality of Berchem on Saturday was met with less than positive response. In spite of being a commercially organized fair, there was room for non-profit organizations that offer counseling.

Although divorce rates in Flanders are soaring - on average one in three marriages ends in divorce - the interest for the first fair dedicated to the matter was rather poor. The few people that did attend said they were there because they wanted to help friends in the situation or simply refused to elaborate on their motives.

The fair’s organizers had met with a lot of criticism in recent days. The Flemish Commissioner for Children’s Rights Ankie Vandekerckhove and Annik Vander Steene of the Agency for General Welfare both expressed their concern, saying that the fair gave people the impression filing for divorce was easy and a simply a matter of procedure. They were met by Melchior Wathelet, the State Secretary for Family Affairs who spoke in a similar voice on Saturday. According to the State Secretary, divorces are regulated by law and should not be treated lightly.

Obviously people don’t think a divorce is for laughs, I’m not sure about the lawyers!


Expensive medicine

More people are finding it difficult to pay for medicine they have to buy at pharmacies, concludes a survey by the specialist magazine for pharmacists. Almost all pharmacists in Belgium say that their customers who have a hard time paying the non-refundable part of their medical expenses. 30 percent of the pharmacists say that this happens quite often. The trend is most common in the cities and nearing the end of the month. Pharmacists in Wallonia report the trend more often than in Flanders.

Many pharmacists notice a difference in buying behavior, according to the time of the month. The most necessary medicines are bought the beginning of the month. At the end of the month, some pharmacies even experience a decline in turnover of 30 percent. In the Walloon region, 45 percent of the pharmacists are regularly confronted by patients who have problem paying for their medicines. The situation is most acute in the provinces of Liège and Hainault. Some pharmacists are prepared to offer their clients credit. In the larger cities, pharmacies often work together with the welfare services.

That could definitely cause a headache!

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Emanuel Paparella2008-06-25 11:55:14
One of the most scandalous outcome of so called "savage capitalism" supposedly the underpinning of democracy, is to reduce people, especially retired senior citizens, to choosing between medicines and food. Food for thought indeed! Marx must be surely turning in his grave.

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