“Our country, businesses and the economy can’t take a second lockdown”

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal) has addressed lawmakers after he and his team were sworn in by King Filip this morning.  The traditional statement or ‘government declaration’ made to parliament as a new government takes office was exceptionally delivered in the semi-circle of the European Parliament building.

The session was held here to allow all the members of the chamber of representatives, the lower house of the Belgian parliament, which must give its backing to the new administration to attend in person and observe social distancing.

The PM told lawmakers that Belgium faced many challenges.

“The pandemic is wreaking havoc.  Never before have so many people had to sign on for temporary unemployment benefit, have so many independent professionals and businesses had to shut down.  The crisis is unprecedented and has inflicted permanent damage.  The crisis and the uncertainty about an effective vaccine cast a long shadow over Belgium”.

The PM insisted his government would do all in its power to stem any outbreak quickly and locally.

“I say clearly our country, businesses and the economy can’t take a second lockdown.  We will combat the challenge by increasing testing and investing more in personal protective equipment and the development of a vaccine.”

Following his statement Mr De Croo rushed off to an emergency European summit called to address the threat of a No Deal Brexit, tensions with Turkey and the situation in Belarus.

AFP or licensors

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