From Belgium with love
maandag 12 december 2011 14:36



541 days after the elections we have a new federal government and a new prime-minister, Elio Di Rupo, with 18 ministers and secretaries of state.

Not that we were without any government in the meantime. We also have regional governments: one for the Flemish community, one for the French community, one for the Brussels capital region and one for the 60.000 German speaking people. These governments have a President, ministers, etc.

We also have recession now, the second one since 2008. You have a recession when the economical growths is in decline two quarters in a row. “Join the club,” our neighbors said.

The price of the Xmas trees has increased. A small tree costs about 15€ and an average one up to 23€ but people are willing to pay for this pageant symbol that enlightens our minds in this cold and dark period. They also love to spend money. Most shops were open on Sunday, the first weekend of Xmas shopping and it was a success. 1,5% more turnover and 300.000 more electronic payments than in the same weekend last year.

More good news: the Russians have discovered Belgium. In 2011 the number of tourists from Russia that visited Belgium increased with 38,5 % and these people are big spenders. They rank 3rd in the list worldwide and they are mainly interested in our historical places, in shopping and entertainment.

Last week our new prime-minister arrived at the European summit in Brussels and said to the press that his priority was the welfare of the citizens. He meant it, I am sure of that. Let’s hope our 5 governments have an answer to the big challenge they are faced with: keep us all happy. We deserve it.