Belgians cannot yet visit their families or shop in France

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Visiting family and shopping across the country’s borders is again possible from today, according to a ministerial decree, but France has said it will not let the Belgians in.

On Saturday, a ministerial decree was published in the Belgian Official Gazette, formalizing the decision. However, neighboring countries of Belgium were not informed, which caused some border problems on Saturday morning.

On Saturday afternoon, the French interior ministry informed RTL that the country would not open its borders before June 15, as it had announced earlier this week. “The Belgians have opened their borders, but France has not yet done so,” said a spokesperson.

The lack of communication has sent back many Belgians wishing to visit their families or shop in France on the Franco-Belgian border.

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“These displacements were not approved by the French police. Anyone who does it anyway risks a fine of € 135. In the event of a repeat offense, we can make arrests ”, confirmed to RTL the French gendarmerie of the commune of Maubeuge, on the border with Belgium.

The Netherlands also reacted with surprise to the Belgian decision. “In March, the border suddenly closed without any consultation,” Marga Vermue, mayor of the Dutch border town of Sluis, told VRT NWS. “Now we are surprised again,” she added.

Vermue was not officially informed of the ministerial decree, she said. “This is not a good example of timely communication,” she said, adding that she will hold an emergency meeting on the situation.

According to the latest information available, the ministerial decree now only applies to trips to Germany, the Netherlands and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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