ROBIN UTRECHT

Is support for the curfew faltering?

Federal opposition party N-VA has tabled legislation to end the curfew.  The party says that by doing so it is forcing the federal government to justify its policies, but even among federal government parties support for the curfew is not absolute.

“If there are good arguments to extend the curfew, we would like to hear them” says Peter De Roover, floor leader of the Flemish nationalist N-VA, Belgium’s biggest party, in the chamber of representatives.  “We’ve noticed crucial information like that isn’t being shared with lawmakers.”

After corona measures were relaxed on Friday health minister Vandenbroucke (Flemish socialist) and justice minister Van Quickenborne (Flemish liberal) indicated the curfew would be with us for a while yet, even after the reopening of the bars scheduled for 1 May “if the figures are right”.

Belgian interior minster Verlinden (Flemish Christian democrat) believes the curfew should be reassessed at each meeting of the Belgian governments on corona measures, while Georges-Louis Bouchez, leader of the governing Francophone liberals, says the curfew should go in April and cannot be maintained once hospitality reopens.

Flemish first minister Jambon (Flemish nationalist) – here the nationalists are in government – notes that the day the ending of the curfew will be discussed he will side with abolitionists.

Clearly, nobody wants to keep the measure any longer than necessary, but when exactly that will be is a matter of divided opinion.

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