The federal interior ministry has advised parents with young children to apply on time for the new Kids-ID, available from local municipalities. The ID card is now required for under-12s travelling within the EU. The card costs €3 until 31 March, and €6 thereafter, is valid for three years and takes three weeks to be delivered. A fasttrack procedure also exists for late applicants, but costs up to €170.
The plan involves an atoll – a ring-shaped island with a lagoon in the middle – three to four kilometres off the coast of Wenduine. It would produce hydro-electricity by pumping water out of the central lagoon at times when there was surplus energy produced by wind turbines – for example at night. Then, when demand required it, the water would be allowed to flow back into the lagoon, passing through turbines, which would convert the flowing water back into electricity.
In his last act as federal minister for government enterprises before going off to be mayor of Charleroi, Paul Magnette announced the planned reform. As expected, the NMBS will move from its current tripartite structure – with rolling stock operated by the NMBS and infrastructure run by Infrabel, both under the NMBS Holding – to a two-pronged structure without the holding company. Under the new structure, the NMBS will be responsible for everything that directly affects the rail user.
The other members of the committee are: photographer Lieve Blanquaert; artist Jan Fabre; Jacques Rogge, chairman of the International Olympic Committee; Chris Van den Wyngaert, a judge at the International Criminal Tribunal; EU council president Herman Van Rompuy; philosopher and honorary vice-rector of Ghent University Etienne Vermeersch; and Marc Vervenne, honorary rector of the University of Leuven.
The transfer of the garden to Flanders was agreed in 2001 in the so-called Lambermont accords, which divided up responsibilities for certain dossiers between the federal government and the regions. However, differences over the buildings, the scientific collection and the language requirements for staff all held up the transfer until now. In the meantime, investment was frozen and the garden’s authorities complained repeatedly of many much-needed investment, for which it seemed no-one was responsible.
Last week Flemish mobility minister Hilde Crevits announced the government’s winter plan for 2012-2013. Flanders, she said, is equipped with a stock of 42,000 tonnes of road-salt – 18,000 tonnes more than was used in the relatively mild winter of 2011-2012.
Wages for two years, other than the minimum wage, will not be able to rise by more than the index, in an effort to reduce the margin, currently estimated at 5.2%, by which Belgian salaries exceed those in neighbouring countries. To preserve the purchasing power of lower incomes, meanwhile, an additional €30 million was agreed to give a tax credit to those on minimum wage, on top of €106 million agreed earlier in the year.
Flemish Brabant lies at the centre of road congestion in Flanders, with 10 of the 16 most serious points in the region located in the areas around Brussels. Residents of the municipalities affected (see map) have until 11 January to submit their remarks to a public enquiry, as part of the procedure to draw up an environmental effects report.