"Same requirements for Belgian and foreign workers"

The Flemish economy minister Philippe Muyters has said that foreign workers too will have to comply with diploma and other conditions set on Belgians involved in certain protected professions.

Belgians who are involved in a protected profession like hairdressers, dental technicians and opticians have to possess the diplomas and licences prescribed by Belgian law. New EU legislation states that EU citizens who meet the conditions to do a certain protected job in their home country can also do so abroad. This conflicts with Belgian law that may set very different conditions on professionals here.

The economy minister now wants to ensure that Belgians are not put at a disadvantage and intends to consult the various sectors first before bringing forward legislation. Mr Muyters told Flemish lawmakers that he was prepared to abandon Belgian legislation if this appeared to be the best solution. Unizo, the organisation that represents small businesspeople, backs an evaluation of the present law, but is unwilling to abandon it altogether.