Does German car industry really need governmental aid?

May 07, 2020

In April, the German car market fell back by 61,1%, a historic feat. The car industry asks for an aid program similar to the sales incentives given in the financial crisis of 2008-2009. But more and more economists, politicians, and environmentalists are questioning such an aid, primarily because it will retard the energetic and mobility […]

Brussels Airlines justifies rescue in five-point letter

May 06, 2020

As discussions about government aids to Brussels Airlines were put on hold last week due to disagreements, the airline has decided to send a five-point summary of its activities to the authorities to justify its rescue. Brussels Airlines points out that its activities are essential for the Belgian economy with 50 000 direct and indirect […]

Germany to support car industry with purchase premiums

May 06, 2020

The German government is going to revitalize the national car industry by stimulating the demand for cars. Sales have collapsed during the corona crisis. The expected purchase premiums could become part of a comprehensive economic stimulus program. Details are still to be decided. That is the outcome of Tuesday’s ‘car summit’ between the German government […]

Historic ‘coalition’ for green-company-cars-only in Belgium

May 06, 2020

The federal parliamentary groups of CD&V, Open VLD, and Groen have found a ‘historic’ compromise for a coalition to reform tax benefits for company cars in Belgium, reserving them exclusively for zero-emission vehicles from 2025 on. According to financial newspaper De Tijd, which broke the news, they’re looking for an alternative majority with the socialist […]

‘Green economic restart for Covid-19 aftermath’

May 05, 2020

A study published on Tuesday in the Oxford Review of Economic Policy estimates that a ‘green’ economic restart for the after-coronavirus period would be the most effective. 231 finance officials, bankers, and experts, plus 92 big French companies’ CEO wish to invest in renewable energy, more energy-efficient buildings, sustainable agriculture, and ‘clean’ R&D. As authorities […]

Advocate-general CJEU: ‘Dieselgate software is illegal’

May 04, 2020

Car manufacturers have massively used illegal software to make their cars look cleaner. That’s the advisory conclusion of the advocate-general of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The Court usually follows this advice, so there could be new damage claims in the future. The car manufacturers have based themselves unjustified on an […]

New express tram line along A12 highway on hold

May 04, 2020

The plans for an express tram between Willebroek and Brussels have been put on hold for the time being because proceedings are pending before the Council of State. In the meantime, an action group pleads to build a metro line instead of a tram connection. “It could easily connect to the Brussels mobility network.” Time […]

Tesla driver is kilometer champion

May 03, 2020

If you think that EVs are doing fewer kilometers, then think again. The year report 2019 of the Belgian non-profit organization Car-Pass shows that the heaviest users of Belgian roads are Tesla drivers. They drive 27 662 km/year on average, while Volvo riders are doing 22 425 km/year, and Audi drivers 21 390 km/year. The […]

10% more cyclists than in the pre-corona era

April 30, 2020

Today, there are 10% more cyclists than in the pre-corona era, while the number of trucks and cars has halved. Since the reopening of the garden centers, the number of cars has increased slightly. But what if our mobility will never be the same as before? Cities are trying to maintain this temporary sustainability momentum […]

Sixteen countries ask EU to allow flight vouchers

April 30, 2020

Twelve European Member States, including Belgium and the Netherlands, have asked the European Commission to temporarily abandon the obligation for airlines to reimburse passengers whose flights were canceled because of the corona crisis if those passengers so request. In this way, they want to give the aviation sector, which has been hit hard by the […]

Brussels ‘uses’ lockdown to push 40 km extra bike paths

April 29, 2020

Brussels Mobility Minister, Elke Van den Brandt (Groen), has defined a mobility plan for the after-lockdown period. To respect social distancing, to leave public transport to those who require it to move, and to avoid congestion building up, citizens are called to walk and cycle. The Region is promptly constructing 40 km of cycling paths. […]

EU Commission ready to tackle tourism problem

April 29, 2020

On Wednesday the 29th of April the European Commission will convene to design a strategy to save the next tourist summer season in Europe. The Commission seeks to draw protocols about the safe exploitation of tourist facilities all over the EU. The spokesman of Commission Chairwoman Ursula von der Leyen pointed out that the weekly […]

Vias: ‘70% fewer accidents but danger looms after lockdown’

April 29, 2020

Despite all misery, the corona crisis also has a positive side: the number of traffic victims since the lockdown has dropped significantly. “Almost 70%,” according to an estimation by traffic safety institute Vias. The organization fears a possible sharp increase when the lockdown will be lifted. “Traffic will be heavier than before the lockdown.” 50 […]

Eneco clashes with Engie on electricity production

April 29, 2020

On Tuesday, energy producer Eneco has published an open letter in several Belgian newspapers deploring it has to shut down its windmills. At the same time, nuclear power plants continue to work at maximum capacity. The corona crisis has an important side-effect: the collapsed demand for energy. That triggered the oil prices to go down. […]

Tongeren next city to become one large bicycle zone

April 29, 2020

The bicycle will become the ‘King of Kings’ in the city center of Tongeren. As of June, the entire inner city, together with the existing pedestrian zone, will become one large bicycle zone. The zone will cover 53 streets where cars are not allowed to overtake. It’s the third city in Belgium to do this; […]

Air pollution: Germans ask for lifting of diesel-ban

April 28, 2020

The air pollution at street level hasn’t diminished during corona. It urges organizations like the German Automobilclub von Deutschland (AvD) to ask for a withdrawal of the diesel-ban in German cities. According to the AvD, measurements at street level showed that such a ban had no effect whatsoever on air quality. There are practically no […]

Traxio still sees lack of clarity about tire changes

April 28, 2020

Since 22 April, garages and tire centers in Belgium haven been allowed to make tire changes again. Nevertheless, the car sector is still waiting for a clear guideline on tire changes. The Crisis Center stresses in a reaction that everyone is allowed to change their tires, and not only people who make essential journeys with […]

Brussels Airlines: government aid ‘on hold’

April 27, 2020

While information about the government’s help to Brussels Airlines filtered last week, discussions are now on hold due to disagreements. Sources say that Belgium refuses to inject money directly into Lufthansa. Plus, it wants to enter Brussels Airlines’ capital to have decision-making ability. Last week, information about the government aids to Brussels Airlines leaked in […]

Belgium hastens to help Brussels Airlines with €290 million

April 24, 2020

To avoid Brussels Airlines from being on the brink of bankruptcy in less than a month, the Belgian government agreed to provide it with a 290 million euro bridging loan. Furthermore, parent company Lufthansa will continue to invest in Brussels Airlines, but activity should be reduced by 25% by getting rid of ten airplanes. The […]

Changing winter tires now allowed as ‘urgent repairs’

April 23, 2020

According to the new FQA of the national crisis center, garages and tire centers from now on are allowed to change winter tires, provided that the rules about social distancing are respected. Until now, they were only allowed to execute “urgent repairs”, meaning “all necessary repairs to guarantee the safety of the vehicle”. Now, it […]

Car industry: who will be the real losers?

April 23, 2020

The car industry is one of the sectors most hurt by the corona crisis. But even in a crisis like this, never experienced before, there are losers and big losers. Who are they, who is suffering a lot, who is limiting the damage? When we look at the March registrations in Europe, there were big […]

Land Rover accelerates hybridization

April 22, 2020

English/Indian car manufacturer Land Rover will accelerate the hybridization of its portfolio by offering two of its most popular models as PHEVs. The Land Rover Discovery Sport and the very popular Range Rover Evoque will share the same underpinnings. P300e The PHEV version of both models will be called P300e. Underneath there are some significant […]

Step by step restart of road works in Wallonia

April 22, 2020

On Tuesday, Walloon infrastructure manager, Sofico, announced that activity on the 17 major rehabilitation road works should restart step by step. Measures will be taken by subcontractors to respect social distancing rules. Ever since the COVID-19 virus outbreak, most road works have been put on hold as Belgians are asked to stay at home, and […]

Brussels lowers speed limit to 20 km/h during lockdown

April 21, 2020

All around the Brussels Region, municipalities are called to open up their streets and parks to pedestrians and cyclists to help social distancing. In the so-called ‘pentagon’, the inner city inside the ‘little ring road’, speed limits will be dropped to 20 km/h during the lockdown. Pedestrians and cyclists get absolute priority over motorized traffic […]

VW to compensate German dieselgate victims for €620 million

April 21, 2020

The German automobile group Volkswagen (VW) reached an ‘amicable settlement’ with some 200 000 VW owners in the dieselgate scandal in Germany. Compensation amounting to 620 million euros will be paid, VW announced on Monday. Compensation With this settlement, Volkswagen intends to end the dieselgate legal fight in Germany by paying out damages to the […]

Belgian energy transition delayed

April 20, 2020

The Belgian energy transition is delayed because the federal government is hesitating to decide. In principle, Belgium will have to close its nuclear power stations in 2025. To be able to do so, gas-fired power stations will have to be built, but the approvals are lacking. Gas-fired power stations According to Elia, the operator of […]

Car sales in Europe: March was a disaster

April 17, 2020

The European car manufacturing association, ACEA, has announced that car sales in Europe regressed by 55,1% in March. Main reason for it was the imposed closing of the dealerships all over Europe around the middle of the month because of the corona crisis. Some 567 000 new cars have been registered in Europe in March, […]

Unfair competition in bike trade: Traxio sounds alarm bell

April 17, 2020

A gradual restarting of business after the lockdown will inevitably create problems. Sector federation Traxio, for example, is sounding the alarm bell. The whole specialized bike trade is suffering from unfair competition from supermarkets and do-it-yourself businesses. “Bike shops have to stay closed, but do-it-yourself businesses and supermarkets are open and sell bikes at a […]

Zone 30 in entire Brussels Region approved

April 17, 2020

The Brussels Government has approved the decision to impose a maximum speed limit of 30 km/hour throughout the territory of the Brussels Region from 1 January 2021. At the end of May, a definitive map will be published with the roads that are still an exception to the speed limit of the ‘City 30′ and […]

Antwerp to introduce first bicycle zone

April 17, 2020

Antwerp is preparing the introduction of the first bicycle zone in the entire Antwerp region. “More than ten streets will be rearranged to give absolute priority to cyclists,” says Alderman of Mobility in Wijnegem, Tom Tachelet (Dorpspartij Durf!). ‘Bicycle streets’ Signco, a company from Willebroek,  used a special painting process to apply white bicycle figures […]

Number of youngsters killed in Dutch traffic up with 183%

April 16, 2020

The Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) has announced that the number of road fatalities is on the rise again. In particular, the proportion of people in their twenties and thirties who died rose by 24 to 183%. Who are these victims? More than one-third of the road accident victims were drivers or passengers of […]

Engie exerts pressure to keep two nuclear reactors until 2045

April 16, 2020

Engie Electrabel wants to keep its two youngest nuclear power plants, Doel 4 and Tihange 3, in operation beyond 2025, even as far as 2045. But this will require a decision before the end of the year. Engie asks Belgian Prime Minister, Sophie Wilmès (MR), to decide this year whether or not to postpone the […]

Lowering car insurance premiums in corona times?

April 15, 2020

Insurance company Corona Direct (CD), offering an insurance premium based on the actual number of kilometers driven, foresees to pay back its clients up to 20% this year, a total of €4,1 million. Questions are raised whether other insurance customers are also entitled to such compensation now that many cars remain parked for two months […]

Flemish government to relax measures for climate investments

April 15, 2020

The Flemish government is going to relax the regulation to give investors of energy projects more time to finish their projects favorably. It is Flemish Minister of Energy, Zuhal Demir (N-VA), who took the initiative. She wants to avoid that Flanders will miss out on investments in the energy transition due to the corona crisis. […]

Call for green relaunch plans after corona

April 10, 2020

Many call upon governments to couple post-corona relaunch plans to ecological transition. A proposal from Denmark to attribute economic support in the spirit of the European Green Deal has gained the support of eight EU Member States. Belgium is not one of them since there is no consensus between the different regions. The cause lies […]

Dutch to block routes for ‘hordes’ of motorbikes

April 10, 2020

Several municipalities in the Netherlands are closing down popular routes for motorbikes and groups of cyclists to avoid ‘hordes’ of them in the Easter weekend. Last weekend, with temperatures rising above 20°C, lots of complaints were heard about pedestrians and recreational cyclists getting in a tight corner and excessive noise nuisance. “Pedestrians and recreational cyclists […]

Car industry desperately looking for solutions

April 10, 2020

The car industry is struggling and desperately seeking an exit out of this crisis. To achieve this, sh’s giving everything she gots, from the classical lobbying up to the production of urgently needed medical material. The European car manufacturers association ACEA announced yesterday that the production of 1,47 million cars has already been postponed since […]

Dieselgate isn’t over yet (bis)

April 09, 2020

A British High Court judge has cleared the way for yet another wave of jurisdictional claims against Volkswagen and possibly other manufacturers. The Dutch Diesel Emission Justice Foundation is determined to claim compensation for the 8,5 million Europeans who bought a frauded car from the VW Group. Dieselgate started in September 2015 in the States, […]

EU wants to keep outer borders closed until 15 May

April 09, 2020

The European Commission wants to keep the outer borders of the European Union closed until May 15th. The measure is intended to prevent the further spreading of the coronavirus. National measure “The experience of the member states and other countries exposed to the pandemic shows that the measures against the virus should be valid for […]

Cardoen delivers at home ‘despite corona restrictions’

April 08, 2020

Belgian ‘car supermarket’ Cardoen is delivering cars at its clients’ homes, despite the corona restrictions. Some 80 vehicles are already handed over this way. Cardoen expects that number to rise to 150 in the next weeks. The latter makes one’s eyebrows raise inquiringly, especially at the other major Belgian players in the automotive sector, wondering […]

Corona: bicycle shops want to relax measures

April 08, 2020

Traxio, the professional association of the automobile trade, which also has a department dealing with two-wheeled vehicles, is asking the Belgian government to relax the rules on the sale and delivery of bicycles. The sector is up to its neck in difficulties because of stagnant sales and large stocks, it says in a press release. […]

Corona: air traffic controller Skeyes hit hard

April 08, 2020

Belgian air traffic controller, Skeyes, loses almost €100 million due to the corona shutdown of air traffic. It’s asking the government for help – the umpteenth victim in the aviation sector. Apart from repatriation and cargo flights, there is very little air traffic in Belgium. “90% of the planned volumes are not used,” says Skeyes […]

Biomass and waste incineration not as green as pretended?

April 07, 2020

While the CO2 taxes Europe is imposing are getting higher every year, there seems to be a problem in the sector of green energy production. International agreements make clear that CO2 emissions have to be reduced and that sustainable energy sources have to be prioritized. But what about biomass energy plants and waste incineration? Researchers […]

Brussels to reprogram all on-hold construction sites

April 07, 2020

With the coronavirus lockdown, the majority of public construction sites have been put on hold in Brussels. Authorities are now planning the restart schedule, and they are aiming to reduce the possible negative impact on the recovery of the economic activity. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the construction sector is idling. With difficulties to respect […]

When will car assembly plants reopen?

April 07, 2020

In Belgium, Audi and Volvo would like to reopen their plants after the Easter holidays. BMW is holding on until the end of the month. Every car manufacturer is trying to plan a reopening as soon as possible, but many problems still have to be solved. Most concrete are the plans of Volvo Ghent. “We […]

Technical inspection centers reopen partially in Wallonia

April 07, 2020

On Monday, the technical inspection centers in Wallonia reopened partially for professional vehicles and only by appointment. Vehicle inspection centers were closed from 18 March in all three Belgian regions. Since March 25, the Flemish car inspection centers provide a limited service for commercial vehicles (+3,5 tons) and priority vehicles again. In Brussels, the technical […]

Brussels adapts traffic lights to corona situation

April 06, 2020

Brussels Mobility has adapted the coordination of traffic lights in the city in order to better respond to the lower traffic pressure. As a result of the corona restrictions, there is 55 to 75% less traffic on the major Brussels traffic axes. Earlier, it was reported that this caused more speeding in the city. This […]

France: EV retro conversions authorized by law

April 06, 2020

On Friday, the French government published a ministerial decree that creates a legal framework for electric car conversions. ICE cars, buses, and trucks over five years old, and two and three-wheelers over three years old can now be retrofitted with an electric powertrain. The love for classic cars won’t die with the rise of electric […]

21 new locations for average speed checks in Flanders

April 06, 2020

Flemish Minister of Mobility, Lydia Peeters (Open Vld), announces 21 new average speed checks along regional roads in Flanders. The average speed checks, representing an investment of 3 million euros for about 55 km of regional roads, are being ordered now and will be installed by autumn 2020. In addition to the cameras of local […]

Will Brussels Airlines once again become a state-owned company?

April 04, 2020

Like many other airlines, Brussels Airlines is severely affected by the corona crisis. The airline would have appealed to the Belgian authorities for at least 200 million euros in aid. According to some sources, the group of experts in charge of rescuing the large Belgian companies as a result of the COVID-19 crisis is also […]

Mobility sector asks to gradually reboot ‘safe activities’

April 03, 2020

Belgian mobility federations Febiac (car import), Traxio (car services), and Renta (leasing) ask the government in a joint-statement to allow the restart of a limited number of essential activities at the next evaluation of the COVID-19 measures. Activities like delivering new cars, technical control for registering used cars, or providing leased cars aren’t gathering masses […]

EU: ‘Voucher for canceled flight only valid when client agrees’

April 02, 2020

The Dutch Minister of Infrastructure, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (VVD), recently announced that clients of airline companies would get a voucher as compensation for a canceled flight due to the coronavirus. “That is to say, only when they agree with it,” says Adina Valean, the European Commissioner for Transport. “If a client does not agree with […]

Brussels asks not to exceed 30 km/hour

March 31, 2020

The Brussels Minister in charge of Road Safety, Elke Van den Brandt (Groen), asks motorists driving in Brussels not to exceed 30 km/hour. The rule already applies to traffic within the small ring road. Still, due to the measure related to the coronavirus, there is much less traffic on the roads of the capital, and […]

Trump uses war law to force carmakers to help

March 30, 2020

US President, Donald Trump, deploys the Defence Production Act in the fight against the coronavirus. Trump uses it against General Motors (GM) to ensure that the company can quickly reopen its plants to support the country. GM will now focus on the production of respiration equipment for hospitals. In another plant, mouth masks will be […]

EU emission rules divide European car industry

March 27, 2020

The European car manufacturer association, ACEA, is preparing an official demand to postpone the stringent EU rules on CO2 emissions entering into force by the end of this year. But inside the organization, not all ducks are in a row yet, and there will also be fierce opposition from the EU Parliament. The car manufacturers […]

Flemish inspection centers reopen for commercial vehicles

March 26, 2020

Since Wednesday, March 25, the Flemish car inspection centers will again provide a limited service for commercial vehicles (+3,5 tons) and priority vehicles. The reinspections of all vehicles will also be carried out again. However, the inspections are only possible by appointment. Four months postponement The duration of these measures depends on the evolution of […]

Corona snowball effect threatens transport sector

March 25, 2020

Although there is still a lot of truck traffic on our roads, these are not golden times for the transport sector. The stagnation of economic life because of the corona crisis has its consequences here too. “I fear a snowball effect from which the transport sector cannot escape,” says Lode Verkinderen. The director of the […]

Belgian Low-Emission Zones ‘suspended’

March 25, 2020

The city of Antwerp is temporarily suspending the LEZ (low-emission zone) so that everyone will also be able to reach the hospitals now that public transport is gradually failing. Parking fees will also be temporarily abolished. In Antwerp, this is done retroactively from March 14 onward. In Ghent and Brussels, the LEZs will remain in […]

New Dutch traffic signs made out of rice skin

March 25, 2020

The Dutch Ministry of Waterways and Public Works (Rijkswaterstaat, RWS) is proud to announce that 300 of the 4 000 new traffic signs along the Dutch highways already are ‘bio-based’. They’re no longer made of environmentally unfriendly aluminum. They’re produced out of a waste product of rice. Sustainability Since the recent introduction of the 100 […]

EU wants a maximum 15 minutes waiting time for trucks at borders

March 24, 2020

The European Commission wants to introduce so-called ‘green lanes’ or priority lanes on the main traffic axes, where trucks can cross the border within 15 minutes. As a result of border controls, traffic jams in some places in Europe reached 40 km last weekend, with waiting times of up to 18 hours. “This must stop. […]