Peeters was speaking to the finance committee of the Flemish parliament, which had recalled its members early in order to discuss the question; normally, the summer recess ends on 25 September. The minister-president, who is also Flemish minister of the economy, pointed out that the Bank itself continued to predict growth of 1.2% for next year.
As Flanders Today went to press, more than 2,300 students had signed up for courses in ICT, engineering, technology and industrial sciences – compared to just over 1,600 at the same time last year.
The exact numbers of business owners who earn less than minimum wage is unclear, but Unizo puts the number at 15%. Last week, the Neutral Union for the Self-Employed (NSZ) said its polls show that 18% of fully self-employed people are making less than €833 a month net, less than the poverty line, which is set at €972 a month.
The figures should, both organisations point out, also be considered in the context of the business income not necessarily making up the whole of the household income: Many self-employed people have a partner in employment.
The emails predict a long period of analysis, evaluation and advice before a decision is made on the reopening of the reactor and stresses “rejecting further exploitation unless it is clearly demonstrated there is no risk. In the current state of the situation, it cannot be ruled out that Doel 3 may not reopen.” The reactor was due to close in 2022.
The jobs fair, held at the end of June, was supported by 17 healthcare establishments in Flanders and attracted 3,500 visitors. In Flanders, job vacancies for nurses go unfilled, despite the best efforts of the health-care sector to attract more young people to the profession. Health-care consortium Zorgnet Vlaanderen estimates that the sector will require 60,000 new staff in the coming six years, as a consequence of retirements.
“People who come for a tailored suit for the first time are surprised by all the details that go in,” says Olivier Bauwens, founder of Belize, at a promotional event in New York. A friend lent Belize use of a gallery for the event, where men could reserve a fitting. Racks of sample coats and trousers and shirts stood next to paintings and electric signs and a table with chilled Stella. Bauwens and two colleagues hold court on their philosophy while waiting for an appointment. “We want to show that you can have a great suit with great fabric at ungreat cost,” says Bauwens.
The principal complaint of Eddy Claesen, a tax advisor from Genk who set up the petition at stopdefiscaleonzin.be, is a penalty for business people who wrongly submit private expenses as business expenses, thus avoiding tax. If inspectors find the expense has been wrongly submitted, the business is liable to pay a fine of 309% of the value. The penalty, Claesen said, is “completely out of proportion”.
The government gathered with its counterparts from places like Scotland, Catalonia, Nord Pas de Calais and some of the German Länder, to take stock of the Flanders in Action plan – Flanders’ response to the Europe 2020 strategy proposed by the European Commission for reviving the EU economy.
The number of new jobs across the country, however, was down from 4,010 to 3,599, a drop of 10%, largely as a result of the sort of investment projects evolving away from industry and logistics towards less labour-intensive services and sales.
Flemish minister-president Kris Peeters, speaking at a Flanders in Action study day, was not overly concerned about Flanders’ performance. The fall in the number of projects last year to 74 still put Flanders ahead of the other two regions in Belgium, which together shared 79 new projects.
The announcement was made last week in Japan, where Flemish innovation and government investment minister Ingrid Lieten and imec chief officer Luc Van den Hove are part of the Belgian trade mission led by Prince Filip.