Belgium, what in the FSM's delicious name are you doing?

Joeri Poesen //

Do I hold all the answers? No.
Does that mean I’m not allowed to rant? No.

Here goes.


Social security leeching encouraged
One of Belgium’s social security benefits is a monthly stipend for each child under your care. Everyone’s mandatory social security contribution allows for stipends like this.

Starting July 1st, independent professionals who refuse to pay their social security contributions and decide to leech on the contributions of others, no longer risk losing the stipend.

That’s right: don’t contribute but still get (some of) the benefits.

Dental care for senior citizens: meh, nobody cares
Yearly dental check-ups are fully reimbursed for all. Except if you happen to be older than 57, in which case you get to pay the full amount or just skip the yearly check-ups altogether.

So you’ve been paying social security contributions your whole life, but around the time your teeth start decaying from old age and follow-up is crucial, you’re kicked out of the system.

But wait, it’s not all bad: starting the age of 60, you can get your teeth pulled for free! Now, that’s what I call service!

That’s right: encourage people to stop seeking dental treatment after the age of 57 and just have their decaying teeth pulled 3 years later. Classy, Belgium. Classy.

Horsies are bad for you, mkay?
In an effort to improve homeland security food safety, all members of the Horsie Family residing in the Kingdom of Belgium must be electronically tagged.

That’s right: no more BlackMcBeauty burgers, DonkeyNuggets, Filet-o-Zebra’s or MyLittlePonyMeals from untagged sources. Finally someone thought of the children!

Traines, planes and automobiles
Our army is too expensive and needs to slim down, while at the same time its top brass takes private planes to a military fair near Paris, 1.5 hours away by high speed train at a cost of about 200 EUR per person, in first class.

But hey…you can’t actually expect soldiers to show up at a military event by way of (gasp) civilian transportation, can you? The humanity!

Human rights, schmuman rights
Taking a clear stand in whether or not Belgium should act out against China’s Taiwan bashing and its human rights conditions during the upcoming Beijing Olympics, is proving a wee bit difficult for our government.

No, we don’t like some of China’s policy, but we can’t risk our trade negotiations by offending their government. Buuuut… at the same time we don’t want to offend too many people here and abroad by having the government officially attend the opening ceremony. Hmmm. Quite a dilly of a pickle.

Typical solution à la Belge: let’s send our prince (the smart interesting serious one, not the smart interesting disarmingly friendly, puppy loving, environmentally aware yet race car driving one) for the opening ceremony and let’s have our prime minister spend a week in China on personal holiday, right around the time of the ceremony and the first week of the games.

Someone must have gotten a fair number of pats on the back for coming up with that brilliant strategy. Well done, my boy. Well done.


I still love you, Belgium, never fear. But your management sucks donkey balls.