Thursday, June 1, 2023

Watch: Belgian workers strike over energy bills ‘shock’

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General strikes over the cost of living crisis are taking place on Wednesday in Brussels and Athens, severely disrupting public transport and services.

“We are really living in a crisis situation. The crises are adding up and now it’s really a shock. I really think that men and women, even those with higher incomes, are really experiencing the current situation of energy bills as a shock,” Eric Buyssens, Political Director of FGTB Brussels, a union, told Euronews.

Inflation in the euro area reached a new record high of 10.7% in October, largely driven by a 41.9% surge in energy prices and a 13.1% increase for food, tobacco and alcohol prices.

European Union countries have come up with their own solutions to try to alleviate the pressure for vulnerable citizens and businesses.

France has capped the electricity price increase, Portugal and Spain have capped the price of gas used for the production of electricity while Germany has rolled out a €200 billion relief package.

But they have struggled to find common solutions to the problem that could be implemented and provide relief in all 27 states.

“We’ve waited on Europe for a while. Our government (Belgium) is hiding itself behind European institutions and nothing is moving,” Muriel Di Martinelli, Federal Secretary of the Brussels sector of the CGSP union, told Euronews.

“The 27 have to come to an agreement. Belgian parties are already unable to reach a deal among themselves. I don’t think it will be much easier with 27, so we are counting on our own government,” she added.



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