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Brussels British Community Association

3 Mar 2020 11:35 AM | Tim Reynolds

The Belgian Federal Public Service (FPS) Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment has established a website on the #COVID19 virus that is available in English as well as Flemish, French and German.

Contact us if you want the BBCA to post a News Story or an Event that is strongly linked to the British Community in Brussels.  We reserve the right to select items for publication and to edit items as required for style and space.

Email    BBCA.NewsAndEvents@gmail.com

News and Events -----------

  • 31 Dec 2020 11:29 PM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

    Our sixth 2020 Christmas walk video comes from BBCA committee member and proud native of Kernow Simon Pascoe.

    It is not too late to join the fun and send us your video of your favourite festive walk, a few photos of a memorable meander or your musings on what 2021 holds for Brits in Belgium. All contributions gratefully received via the BBCA.NewsAndEvents@gmail.com email address.

    All the best for 2021 from all at BBCA - Happy New Year!

  • 30 Dec 2020 10:28 PM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

    From Thursday 31 December, new requirements come into force for anyone entering Belgium from a red zone. Belgium currently defines the majority of the rest of the world as a COVID red zone with the exception of Iceland, Japan, Corsica and some parts of Ireland, Norway and Greece.

    All travellers, regardless of citizenship or place of residence, must quarantine and take two coronavirus tests, seven days apart. The first test should be taken on the day of arrival, with the second seven days after. Only if the result of the second test is negative can their quarantine end.

    The decision followed an emergency meeting of the coronavirus consultative committee on Wednesday 30 December as Belgium anticipates an influx of travellers returning to the country from abroad over the next few days, despite the formal government advice not to travel over the festive season.

    "We want to be clear," said Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo. "This clarity translates into a firm and formal obligation to self-isolate after your holiday and to take a COVID test twice."

    It is hoped that the tougher rules would also "be dissuasive" for anyone considering a foreign holiday during the Carnival half-term break.

  • 30 Dec 2020 9:49 PM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

    2021 is almost upon us but our 5th 2020 Christmas walk video comes from Zoe White who is Chair of the Brussels Branch of the Royal British Legion and has recently joined the BBCA committee.

    If you fancy shooting a video of your favourite festive walk or sending in a few photos of a memorable meander, do not hesitate to convey your contribution to us via the BBCA.NewsAndEvents@gmail.com email address.

    Best wishes from all at BBCA for a very Happy New Year.

  • 29 Dec 2020 4:24 PM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

    As you will be well aware, on 1 January 2021 British citizens in Belgium will wake up to a dramatically different relationship between the UK and the EU and this will have an impact on all our lives.

    In 2017 the ‘Brexit and the Belgian Brits (BABBS)’ Facebook group was set up as a support network for individuals with common Brexit-related problems. Now with some 1500 members, BABBS members share tips on how to obtain EU citizenship and other administrative issues, as well as Brexit-related news.

    In late November 2020, documentary filmmaker Anny Tubbs approached BABBS organisers with an idea to highlight how Brexit is affecting the ordinary lives of British people living in Belgium. She proposed to work with interested BABBS members on planning and crowdfunding the production of a short film to bring BABBS members closer together, give them a voice and use screenings to raise awareness of ongoing issues.

    The reasons why we Brits came to be in Belgium are many: some came for work, others for love. But each one of us has benefited from the freedom, spontaneity and flexibility that EU membership gave us. By highlighting these stories, the film will document a historic moment and explore what the future holds.

    BABBS is inviting Brits in Belgium to be a part of this community project by contributing to the fundraising for the film fundraiser. A dedicated fundraising webpage has been set up where you can choose to be an anonymous or recognised donor – see your name up in lights, or even spend half a day on set to experience movie-making ‘for reel’. The target for fundraising is EUR 10 000 and if the target is not reached then donations will be reimbursed.

    New Year’s Eve Brexit wake

    BABBS also invites you to a sombre occasion to mark the last day of the UK's transition out of the European Union. It will be a sad day and due to the COVID curfew the plan is for a short event from 7pm to 8pm on 31 December 2020 outside the British Embassy at Avenue d'Auderghem 10, 1040 Brussels (nearest Metro Schuman).

    Suggested dress: Mourning Black with EU Facemasks or similar and please bring a candle to light (or similar illumination).

    BABBS tell us that Ixelles police have limited the maximum number of people allowed for this event to 100 and COVID rules also restrict gatherings to no more than 4 adults in one group, so attendees will need to stand in groups of a maximum of 4 people (socially distanced of course).

    If you are thinking of attending the vigil, please fill in this Google doc so BABBS can liaise with the local police. You do not need to include your email address and/or GSM if you do not want to. You can also use the form to arrange to join a 4-person group before the event.

    The event will be filmed, so if you do not wish to appear in the film, please let the organisers know when you get there.

  • 28 Dec 2020 4:09 PM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

    Hello, I am Tim Reynolds. I am vice chair of the BBCA and do most of the posts on our website and social media. I am also secretary of the Belgium section of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

    2020 has obviously been a very strange year with COVID and associated lockdowns. Travel internationally has been difficult.

    But looking back it also had some spectacular sunny weather in Belgium and we enjoyed new walks around Kraainem where I live and more generally in the Flemish Brabant countryside. There is lot of great walking out there to discover. Much of it very reminiscent of parts of the British countryside we all know well.

    2021 will bring more challenges and anxieties to the British community in Belgium as the full implications of Brexit impact on our lives and those of friends and family both here in Belgium and back in the UK.

    But the BBCA is here to help and as the COVID situation improves we hope to see more of the community getting together. The BBCA and its associated charities and societies have been supporting our communities in Belgium for decades - literally centuries in one case - and will continue to do so into the future.

    So cheers – Happy New Year - and here’s to a much improved 2021!

  • 27 Dec 2020 12:19 PM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

    Our third festive walk contribution comes from BBCA committee member Tracie Ryan who took these evocative images of dusk falling in Brussels on a walk close to her home.

    “From Forest Park to Duden Park. A lovely chill mist descended as the evening approached. Lovely to have this on my doorstep,” she says.

    Don't forget to send us your video or photos from a favourite festive walk and tell us why you like it and your thoughts on your life in Belgium.

    Send your contributions to us via the BBCA.NewsAndEvents@gmail.com email address.

    Thanking you very much and best wishes for the festive period and 2021!

  • 26 Dec 2020 10:49 AM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

    Everyone at BBCA hopes you had a safe and satisfying Christmas experience. On to Boxing Day and our second 2020 Christmas walk video message is from BBCA Council Chair - Glenn Vaughan.

    Don't forget if you fancy shooting a video of your favourite festive walk or sending in a few photos of a memorable meander do not hesitate to convey your contribution to us via the BBCA.NewsAndEvents@gmail.com email address.

    Thanking you very much and Happy Christmas!

  • 25 Dec 2020 10:21 AM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

    ICYMI, at long last the UK and the European Union have concluded negotiations on a draft Trade and Cooperation Agreement on Christmas Eve afternoon.

    The deal covers a wide range of issues including trade in goods and services, fish, energy and retaliation rights. More details on the deal can be found here. The deal does not cover financial services.

    A handy infographic outlining what is in the deal compared to membership of the EU can be downloaded here.

    Now both sides have to read, check and implement the deal before the end of 2020. The European Commission is proposing a limited “provisional application” until 28 February 2021, meaning that initially only EU Member States and the UK need to give their consent to the existing text. The process is beginning today (Christmas Day) with a meeting of EU member States ambassadors at 10:30 a.m.

    The European Parliament will scrutinize and hold a vote on acceptance at the beginning of 2021.

  • 25 Dec 2020 12:08 AM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

    A very Merry Christmas to one and all! Our first 2020 Christmas walk video is with BBCA Council member and Editor of The Bulletin Magazine - Sarah Crew. 

    If you fancy shooting a video of your favourite festive walk or sending in a few photos of a memorable meander do not hesitate to convey your contribution to us via the BBCA.NewsAndEvents@gmail.com email address.

    Thanking you very much and Happy Christmas!

  • 22 Dec 2020 3:44 PM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

    This week, the Belgian interior ministry is sending a letter to all registered British citizen with details of the steps they will be required to take after the Brexit transition period ends at midnight on 31 December 2020.

    The letter comes in an envelope as above and the letter is signed by state secretary for migration Sammy Mahdi. It explains your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement and the process you will need to follow during 2021 to safeguard them. A pdf copy of the letter can be accessed here.

    Essentially all UK nationals and their family members will have to apply for a special new residence status at their commune between 1 January and 31 December 2021. Throughout 2021, the rights of all UK nationals registered as living in Belgium before the end of the transition period will remain protected.

    Once you have applied for the new status, you should receive a certificate confirming that the application and this can be used to prove your residence rights - including unlimited access to the Belgian labour market - until your application is officially approved.

    Following approval, a new electronic residence card (M card) will be issued to you that is renewable every five years - or every 10 years if you have already acquired permanent residence here.

    All current residence cards (E/E+/F/F+) for British citizens will cease to be valid on 31 March 2022.

    The process

    More information on the application process can be found here. The application must be made with the commune where you are currently registered as living on the national register. There will be an application form to fill in and you will need to also provide:

    • A copy of your valid Belgian residence document (appendices 8, E or E+ card).
    • A valid identity card or passport (valid is underlined and may indicate that passports with less than six months validity before the expiry date may not be accepted - this needs to be checked). 
    • An extract from the criminal record which is not older than 6 months.

    The criminal record extract can be a Belgian extract or an extract from the United Kingdom's criminal record (police records) or the country where you were resident before coming to Belgium. You will also need a legalized translation of this extract if it is not in Dutch, French, German or English.

    The supporting documentation should be submitted at the time of application or, at the latest, within 3 months of the date of application. No decision - and therefore no issue of a new card - can be made for incomplete applications and excessive delay may result in your application being declared inadmissible.

    Further information on the process and your rights in Belgium under the Withdrawal Agreement can be found on this dedicated Belgian government website.

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