Speech on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations

Dear Mr Chairman, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,   75 years ago, The guns of World War II had only just died down, The largest multilateral organization ever was born. The United Nations Charter came into force. This anniversary is an opportunity to remind us of the objectives behind this unique creation. The aim was to rebuild a world in ruins by establishing a strong and universal framework of international standards. To rebuild a world to save future generations…


BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND

Response to parliamentary questions on COVID-19 and on preparations for a second wave

Check against delivery Thank you, Mr Speaker. The improvement we’ve seen in the health situation in recent weeks isn’t a given, as shown by the reproduction number, which has risen above 1 again. One of the questions was about daily figures. I share your opinion entirely. I share your opinion, and we’ve asked [the Belgian federal public health institute] Sciensano to start providing us with daily figures again, to at least ensure that the experts have these at their disposal,…


BELGA PHOTO POOL CHRISTOPHE LICOPPE

National Security Council meeting of 15 July

Phase 5 of the phase-out plan is not yet activated. Some indicators are worrying and we are keeping an eye on things. We all need to be more vigilant. On 23 July, we will assess the situation again.


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Response to parliamentary questions on the handling of the crisis and on the recovery

Check against delivery   Handling of the coronavirus crisis   Thank you, Mr Speaker.   Of course, the summer-holiday period is a very popular time for people to travel abroad, and the lockdown we have experienced because of the public-health crisis has definitely made the desire for a change of scene even greater. However, as we know and as has been said many times, the virus has not gone anywhere. It is still out there. New infection clusters have emerged in several of Belgium’s…


Response to parliamentary questions (events sector and management of the crisis compared with other OECD countries)

Check against delivery   Emergence from the crisis and the road ahead for the events sector   Thank you, Mr Speaker.   As I’ve said a number of times, easing the lockdown is an unprecedented, complex and gradual process that requires us to strike a balance between the desire and the need to return to normal life, on the one hand, and the requirements of the health situation, on the other. Unfortunately, because of their very nature, certain sectors cannot resume their activities…


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Response to parliamentary questions

Check against delivery   Meeting of the National Security Council on 3 June 2020 – support measures for the hospitality industry   Thank you, Mr Speaker.   Various sectors and industries are affected by the resumption in activity envisaged in phase 3 of the lockdown exit plan, chief among them the hospitality industry and the cultural and sports sectors. I’m not going to repeat here all the decisions set out yesterday, but I will focus on some specific details that have…


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Response to parliamentary questions on the decisions of the National Security Council of 24 June

Check against delivery.   Thank you, Mr. President,   The positive trends in healthcare data do indeed allow us to move to phase 4 on 1 July, with the prospect of further easing. But it is always still possible that we will have to dial back measures. We must never forget this.   Regarding the gatherings of large groups, because there were some questions about this. The gatherings we saw last weekend or a few weeks ago are not without consequences. Of course, there are many…


Answers to parliamentary questions

Check against delivery. Economic recovery plan – Proposals from employers’ organisations Thank you, Mr. President, The economic impact of the crisis is considerable. As I said last week, at the beginning of April, the Planning Bureau and the National Bank of Belgium predicted a possible recession of -8% this year. It is likely that the actual recession in 2020 will be even worse. For 2021, the recovery will also be slow. However, a distinction must be made between,…


Response to questions in plenary

Check against delivery Coronavirus crisis – recovery plan Thank you, Mr Speaker. First of all, I would like to answer the specific questions regarding second homes and the third phase. After that, I will talk about the macroeconomic aspect of the recovery. This week, virologists have once more confirmed that allowing members of the public to visit their second homes again would have no impact in terms of spreading COVID­19, and so we now see no reason to unnecessarily delay…


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Answer to parliamentary questions on the decisions of the National Security Council

Check against delivery.   Like every week, I would like to come back to the evolution of epidemiological data. This is indeed essential in the current phase-out process. Because, as you know, the next phases can only be started based on this evolution. The positive trends of the previous days continue. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all staff in the health sector for their efforts. The last few days we have seen a downward trend in hospital admissions. We also have positive…