Category Archives: BELGIUM

Europol, dismantled illegal horse meat trading

The Spanish Guardia Civil, in coordination with Europol, has dismantled an organised crime group that was trading horsemeat in Europe that was unfit for human consumption. The operation was carried out in coordination with Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In Spain, 65 people were arrested and charged with crimes such as animal abuse, document forgery, perverting the course of justice, crimes against public health, money laundering and being part of a criminal organisation.

Beefburgers in 2013

In 2013, Irish authorities detected beefburgers containing horsemeat. This marked the start of an investigation to find out the origin of the contamination; the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone was found in the meat. Meat companies, frozen food companies and fast-food companies were affected by the investigation, which led to the identification of a Dutch citizen known in the horsemeat world, although his whereabouts were unknown at that moment.

In the summer of 2016, Guardia Civil’s Environmental Protection Service initiated Operation Gazel after unusual behaviour was detected in horsemeat markets. They detected a scam whereby horses in bad shape, too old or simply labelled as “not suitable for consumption” were being slaughtered in two different slaughterhouses. The animals came from Portugal and several places in northern Spain, their meat was processed in a specific facility and from there sent to Belgium, which is one of the biggest horsemeat exporters in the European Union. The criminal organisation forged the animals’ identification by modifying theirs microchips and documentation.

Main suspect arrested in Belgium

During the investigation, Guardia Civil was able to locate the Dutch businessman related to the Irish case of the beefburgers containing horse meat, in Calpe, Alicante. From there he led the activities of the organisation, putting his most trusted men in charge in every country affected by the scam.

Investigators concluded that the Spanish element of this organisation was a small part of the whole European structure controlled by the Dutch suspect. The arrest of the leader of the criminal group was carried out in Belgium. This action was coordinated by the Federal Police, the Federal Food Agency in Belgium and Guardia Civil. Different police actions were simultaneously carried out in France, Portugal, Italy, Romania, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

In total 66 individuals were arrested or investigated. Three officers from Europol supported the Spanish actions in Alicante and León. As a result of all of these actions, several bank accounts and properties were blocked or seized, and five luxury cars seized.

Because of the international nature of this case, Guardia Civil asked Europol for its support in the operation. Europol has worked actively in all necessary actions, including coordination, first contact with other affected countries in order to initiate investigations, and summoning and supporting all involved agencies for coordination and analysis meetings in The Hague, where all the information was studied and processed.

During the searches at the slaughterhouses and facilities, several samples were taken. The results concluded that the destination of the horsemeat was mainly outside of Spain, due to the fact that the samples in Spain matched those found abroad.

Ukraine: 'Jan De Nul' saved again?

 The famous Belgian company “Jan de Nul” once again became the focus of loud international scandal involving the bribery of public officials. In Ukraine the “Jan De Nul” became the investigation object for corruption deal with Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority (USPA). Investigation conducts National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), that reports, that the owners of the “Jan de Nul” – brothers – Peter Jan de Nul and Dirk de Nul probably will be called for interrogatory.

 As it turned out, that the potential defendants – Belgian businessmen had been previously convicted for similar offense. And now in Ukraine, they are also can be charged for public officials bribery. In particular, Jan Pieter De Nul may be accused of bribing high-ranking Ukrainian officials in order to win the tender for dredging in the “Yuzhny” sea port. Not so long ago NABU searched the office of the subsidiary “Jan De Nul” – “Jan De Nul Ukraine”, as well as the USPA office. The search allowed to reveal important facts. It turned out that the Ukrainian subsidiary of the Belgian giant was affiliated to the Parliament Member Sergey Faermark. And the order for dredging valued in almost $50 million, that “Jan De Nul” won – apparently could be the result of an agreement with the head of Yuzhny branch ofUkrainian Sea Ports Authority Maxim Shirokov.

 It is worth to mention that before the tender started the ‘Jan De Nul’ had held 100% block of shares in its subsidiary in Ukraine. For a long time the Belgian businessmen tried in vain to enter the Ukrainian market of dredging. However, they could get the victory in the $50 million tender only after selling the 55% block of shares of “Jan De Nul Ukraine” to the two Cypriot companies. Thereafter the company was headed by Andrey Rozov – a former assistant of Sergey Faermark. It is noteworthy that, Mr.Rozov previously had nothing to do with the dredging business.

NABU suspects, that Yan Pieter De Nul and Dirk de Nul transferred to Sergey Faermark 55% stake in their “subsidiary” for help in obtaining the order for dredging in the “Yuzhny” sea port. The investigation found out that the de Nul brothers had already been prosecuted in home country for bribing officials and sentenced by the Belgian court to imprisonment. It was the loud corruption scandal that left a mark in European media. The Belgian anti-corruption agency revealed the fact of bribery of revenue service officer Willie Godgezlshup by de Nul brothers, after what the officer allowed machinations in Jan De Nul Groupe tax documents. In general, the official “earned” a few million Belgian francs, as well as a villa. 

The offense could be opened only because the revenue service officer had made a number of purchases clearly exceeding his incomes. The court sentenced Willi Godgezlshup to 5 years in prison with confiscation, and de Nul brothers – to three-year suspended sentence. Belgian Themis actually saved the businessmen from the real life behind bars just not to hurt the company. If de Nul brothers were put in prison, international contracts of Jan De Nul would have been in jeopardy. Since international law requires at the conclusion of any contract – a certificate of good conduct governing for managing director.

Another corruption story of de Nul brothers is not yet over in Latin America. It is possible that they will be put again at the dock for fraud for the multi-billion dollar tender for Panama Canal expanding. The story was, in particular, publicized by “New York Times” .Tender was won by clearly lower price. However, in the course of its implementation, thanks to the “necessary”  officials, the cost of works increased by $1.6 billion.

 The results of the Ukrainian investigation NABU certainly to give to Belgian law enforcement agencies and de Nul brothers would have again to meet native country Themis. Will Belgian justice once more save businessmen from responsibility – until the matter. However, the version in which the lawyers of Jan Peter and Dirk De Nul will try to justify their clients already clear. Apparently, the brothers will be posed as victims of extortion by the Ukrainian officials, which, of course, cannot be excluded. The scandal of Willie Godgezlshup bribery ended in the same way. The accused officer took the blame on himself, saying that he had demanded a bribe/ That allowed maximally to commute the sentence for de Nul brothers. However, such a way is not likely to work in the Ukrainian realities, where officials are also used to shift the blame on others. It is hardly to expect that Maxim Shirokov and Sergey Faermark would voluntarily plead guilty to extortion and thus support the Belgian businessmen.

In any case, the litigation in a court is waiting de Nul family, because a crime on the territory of another country does not remove the criminal liability.

The world’s largest seafood trade event in Brussels #seafood #trade #brussels

The 23rd edition of Seafood Expo Global and the 17th edition of Seafood Processing Global, produced by Diversified Communications, took place at the BRUSSELS EXPO 21-23 April 2015. Together, the event covered 36,063 m², making it a record-breaking year and the largest meeting place in the world for seafood professionals. Over the three days, 26,652 seafood professionals and decision-makers from 144 countries gathered in Brussels to review global innovations and intelligent solutions to meet consumer demands.

Expanding this year into Hall 8, Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global welcomed 1,761 exhibitors from 72 countries, including 66 national and regional pavilions. The exhibiting companies displayed a variety of seafood products, both fresh and frozen, sourced from aquaculture and fishing, along with services relating to marine products, transportation, refrigerated logistics and packaging equipment.

The exposition offers a platform where suppliers and buyers can do business and build professional networks. This annual event brings together thousands of buyers, importers, exporters, distributors, restaurants, supermarkets, hotels and other retailers and food service companies from 144 countries.

“Seafood Expo Global is a fantastic opportunity for buyers to find new suppliers, new products, connect with existing suppliers and develop new ideas,” explained Sandy Anderson, Senior Food Buyer at Elior, one of 387 Key Buyers who attended the event this year. Other Key Buyers who attended  included  the following companies: Compass Group (France, United Kingdom, Germany); Turkish Do & Co (Turkey); AEON Global Merchandising (Japan); Aldi (Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, United Kingdom); AUCHAN (France, Portugal); Axfood (Sweden); Carrefour (Belgium, France, Romania, Spain, United States); Coop (Denmark, Italy, Switzerland); Costco Wholesale (United Kingdom); Jeronimo Martins (Colombia, Poland, Portugal); Metro (Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Hong Kong, Italy, Ukraine); REWE (Germany, Latvia, Thailand) and WalMart (Brazil, United States).

Brussels, as capital of the European Union, is filled with official delegations from around the world and many international not-for-profit organizations. It is the ideal place to meet and network with professionals from around the world. The organizers of Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global also work in collaboration with VISITBRUSSELS to welcome thousands of attendees in Brussels.

Awards were presented for the prestigious Seafood Prix d’Élite competition that recognizes innovative companies in a number of categories. On 21 April, the company Salmon Brands, based in Oslo, Norway, won both the best new retail product category and the special award for originality, with its entry Salmaraw, a ready-to-eat sashimi in kit form.

The special award for Health and Nutrition went to Marine Harvest from Bruges, Belgium, for its product Oven-baked Norwegian Duo (Duo Norvégien au Four). The Big Prawn Company from Melton Constable in the United Kingdom took home the special award for convenience for its Seafood Rarebit product, as well as the special award for packaging for its 2 Crayfish Thermidor Bakes product.Finally, Rockabill Shellfish Limited based in Balbriggan, Ireland, won the special award for seafood product line, for its “Something Fishy” product. In this 15th annual competition, a panel of experts in seafood products judged 37 finalists on their taste, originality, practicality, packaging, market potential and nutritional aspects.



The 40th anniversary of the ACP Group #acp #anniversary


The ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States) is currently celebrating the 40th anniversary of its founding.

A conference is going to be held under the theme “From Georgetown to Sipopo and beyond”, at the ACP house, based in Brussels, avenue Georges-Henri.

Many ambassadors and representants are expected and important topics  such as economical growth and integration are going to be discussed.

28th ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary assembly in Strasbourg

28th ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary assembly in Strasbourg


Shervin LABANI

Didier Reynders to preserve the Virunga National Park in DRC #virungapark #reynders #congo #begov

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders attended the ceremony for the creation of the Virunga Foundation Belgium at Château Val Duchesse in Brussels, on Thursday 7 May. In the presence of Minister of State François-Xavier de Donnea, trustee of the Virunga Foundation United Kingdom and Emmanuel de Merode, CEO of the Virunga Foundation United Kingdom and director of the Virunga National Park, Didier Reynders stressed the commitment of Belgium to preserve the Virunga Park.


Virunga is the oldest park in Africa and hosts the largest number of mammals, birds and reptiles, but is also the most threatened park in Africa. The massive presence of armed groups throughout the park, increasing population pressure, illegal mining, exploitation of charcoal, illegal fishing, poaching and especially oil exploitation projects are constant threats to the rich biodiversity of the park.

The aim of the new Virunga Foundation Belgium is to promote the reputation of the Virunga National Park, located in the North Kivu, and to contribute to the financing of social projects and sustainable development, in the Park or for the benefit of its active or retired staff, their families and local communities.

Didier Reynders emphasized the importance of raising awareness among Congolese and international actors, as well as identifying and denouncing these threats and helping to find alternatives. Belgium supports, through direct or indirect means, projects that contribute to the improvement of living conditions of local communities.

Crisis at Belgium Expo Pavillon in Milano. #expomilano2015 #begov #belgium


The Belgian pavilion at the International Exhibition of Milan undergoes a major crisis. Tuesday morning furious  employees made their anger public, after the fury  of the bar and restaurant which  had led to a strike on Sunday.

It was said the organisers had accumulated the hiccups and durably penalized the restoration of the pavilion. The working conditions were also judged undecent by the many workers.

They demanded the immediate resignation of Laurence Heyblom, director of the pavilion. They also wanted the return of Benoît Gersdorff, chef of the restaurant, in order to manage the project.


Shervin Labani

Vienna Motor Symposium 2015: Power eDrive for future driving pleasure


Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG Development, presents an innovative configuration of two electric drives and a combustion engine. Following the successful market launch of BMW eDrive technology in the first models of the BMW i brand, the BMW Group’s future focus is also on in-house development of electric drives that combine high levels of efficiency with brand-typical driving fun.

As part of his address at the 36th International Vienna Motor Symposium, Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development, presented the concept of a forward-looking plug-in hybrid drive. In addition to offering an all-round electric driving experience and even further enhanced dynamics at higher speeds, it also promises the long-distance driving capability familiar from conventionally powered vehicles – and for larger cars as well.

A demonstrator model featuring Power eDrive technology has already been built to glean insights into potential deployment in future vehicle architectures for the medium and larger vehicle segments.
“In the future there will be a variety of drive systems for different requirements,” said Fröhlich. The positive response to the BMW i3, he pointed out, showed that a pure battery-electric drive in small to mid-sized vehicles already represents an attractive solution today for urban mobility based on typical daily driving distances even beyond 100 kilometres (62 miles).

Driving requirements that exceed this in terms of dynamics and long-distance suitability, on the other hand, are best served by innovative plug-in hybrid drives. In this area, Power eDrive technology – in the wake of the successful introduction of BMW eDrive in the BMW i8 and the BMW X5 – represents the next stage of development, announced Fröhlich.
With Power eDrive, the strengths of the plug-in hybrid drive will be rigorously developed going forward. A total range of some 600 kilometres (some 370 miles) guarantees a long-distance capability that is also adequate for large vehicles. In statistical terms, some 80 per cent of the average annual mileage of a typical commuter could be covered in all-electric mode.

Power eDrive technology, moreover, comes with the kind of sporting potential traditionally associated with a BMW. With an electric drive on both front and rear axles, electric driving fun becomes a palpable experience. But the dynamic potential of this drive concept really comes into its own when accelerating from standstill and during mid-range acceleration on the open road. At higher speeds the combustion engine can also be called on as a supplementary drive source. Thus, as well as providing dynamics as required, Power eDrive also guarantees a significant boost in efficiency during everyday operation.

“Highly dynamic responses are a key attribute, which in the higher speed ranges become continuous thrust,” explained Fröhlich. “Power eDrive combines electric driving fun with the long range of a combustion engine.” With this innovative form of high electrification and the ongoing development of purely electric drive, he added, the BMW Group would in future be able to offer the ideal electric driving experience for each vehicle segment. This flexible concept opens the door to further enhancement of both efficiency and hallmark BMW driving pleasure, while at the same time meeting the demands of the most diverse markets and target groups.


Europe worried about the big lakes #africa #EU


by Noelle Paré


international consultant

Under the presidence of Louis Michel, Minister of State, MEP and Co-President of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly ACP-EU, a dialogue meeting was held at the European Parliament as part of the 2015-2024 International Decade for people of African descent and the search for peace and sustainable development in the world, especially in the Great Lakes Region.
This dialogue involving members of civil society and the diaspora in the countries concerned is an initiative that not only has to be encouraged but also welcomed.

For this ambitious program, the European Commission clearly appears as a privileged partner of the people involved for their economic and cultural salvation in an essential regional integration development system. The strong mobilization of stakeholders for this meeting, as the fact that critical account was held of the worrying situation in Burundi and in the short and medium term risks of spreading unrest throughout the Great Lakes region, demonstrated that all the stakeholders of the civil society  want to work together for a cross-border equitable development.

e have to ad that the audience was struck by  the absence of representatives of various embassies of the concerned countries  and political representatives or leader.

Today, all the actors of the Great Lakes Region welcome Europe for its commitment to structural reforms, maintaining the safety of persons, fair exploitation of natural resources and helping to organize   democratic elections including applications of all stakeholders in line with the peace agreement signed in Addis Ababa 2013. However, they warn us about the risks of actions performed in defiance of common sense and without effective control of the results.
Participants noted with enthusiasm through the presentation of the situation by Mr. Douglas Carpenter, Representative of the European External Action Service and Deputy Head of the Central Africa and Great Lakes Division, the awareness that the European Commission’s economic potential the region and the negative impact of the decision of current President of Burundi to represent against the constitutional law of the country. Mr. Douglas emphasized the material injury Aura decision on national reconciliation and development.
By cons, those present could only grieve the doublespeak of Deputy Head of the Central Africa and Great Lakes Division has one hand urged the various political parties and leaders to consider the best interests of countries and also announced the dispatch of observers at great expense for electoral votes despite the illegitimacy of the known constitution lists.

Indeed, the words of Mr. Douglas, Deputy Director have left no hope that the European observers denounce or prevent pre-election maneuvers of the ruling power using unacceptable means (imprisonment , expatriation, violence, banning political rallies) of opposition leaders and their supporters.
When Europe will take the measure of his responsibility in the establishment of perennial as legitimate democracies in Africa? How can European leaders accept conditions that can only lead to frustration and anger come and advertise their pious wishes to be “observers” of inclusive and peaceful elections?

When we understand the importance of position ourselves for democracy unconditionally refusing a situation which makes the exclusion of legitimate and representative applications of a population to despair and acceptance by our European political leaders to an unconstitutional candidacy by to the laws of the country concerned?

According to our sources the cost of our scandalous European participation in this “theatrical performance” does not conform to the most basic human rights to the Europeans will cost $ 8 million. Impossible to evaluate what the cost to European countries and to international and domestic investors in these regions which will then help necessary for the repression of a population that European leaders now fear the revolt after the announcement of the election.
Let us all be responsible! Groupon us before and not after the drama!

EURELECTRIC welcomes deal on ETS Market Stability Reserve #eurelectric #energy #europe #market #deal


EURELECTRIC strongly welcomes the provisional agreement reached yesterday by the European Parliament and the Council on the proposal to establish a Market Stability Reserve (MSR) under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).  EURELECTRIC has consistently advocated the need for an urgent and thorough reform of the ETS.

This includes a robust MSR which enters into operation early and ensures that the 900 million backloaded allowances as well as the unallocated allowances are transferred to the reserve.

The deal reached yesterday will establish an effective reform mechanism in line with all these expectations.



The second edition of the economic forum "Africarise" held its promises #africarise #genval #africa #africa #belgium #business #brabantwallon

AFRICA RISE – AFRICA BELGIUM BUSINESS WEEK closed its doors on the 30th of April 2015 on a high note. In fact, its success was hailed by many personalities who took part in the latter, including HRH Prince Laurent of Belgium.


The large attendance of the event and the participation of nearly 500 African companies is mainly due to the ability of the organizers to appeal to significant African delegations from many highlighted countries (Benin, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Niger and DRC), and their companies, members of governments and service, chambers of commerce and or investment promoters.

This second edition, in which Ivory Coast was in mainly under the spotlights, has allowed the meeting between Mr Charles Michel, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium and HE Daniel Kablan Duncan, Prime Minister of Ivory Coast, accompanied by HE Jean-Vincent Zinsou, Ambassador of Ivory Coast in Belgium, HE Jean-Claude Brou, Minister of Industry and Mines, HE Bruno Nabagné KONE, Minister of Post and ICT, EKPENI Gilbert, Director of Cabinet Head of the the Economic Infrastructure Minister and Mr. Emmanuel Essis, CEO of CEPICI.


Among the many personalities who took part in the forum, were gladly seen and received :

Mr Charles Michel, Prime Minister, Mayor of Wavre, Willy Borsus, Federal Minister for the Middle Classes, Independents and SMEs, Cécile Jodogne, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade of the Brussels Capital Region, Mr Dominique Godin, Head of the Walloon Union of Enterprises (UWE), Pascale Delcominette, Head Deputy of the Walloon Export Agency and Foreign Investments – AWEX, René Branders, President of the CCI-Brabant, Mr Mathieu Michel, Chairman of the provincial college and permanent deputy of the Province of Walloon Brabant, Marie-José Laloy, Honorary Governor of the Province of Walloon Brabant, Prof. Dr. Marc Francaux, Pro-Rector for Regional Affairs of the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL).


Noëlle PARE

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