© Belga

Saturday will be bright and sunny, causing the temperatures to hit 25 degrees on the Coast and in the Ardennes, and 30 degrees in central Belgium and De Kempen.

At the end of the afternoon, patches of cloud will build up in the west but the weather will remain dry with a moderate and south-easterly wind.

Temperatures should be lower on Sunday at around 20 degrees, followed by a distinctly fresher feel to the beginning of the week.

The Brussels Times

Brexit: Negotiations with the EU to be sped up in September

Credit: Pixabay

British and EU negotiators will meet twice a week in September to try to reach an agreement on the final divorce settlement between the United Kingdom and the European Union that is fixed for October 31, the minister with responsibility for Brexit announced on Thursday.

“Technical-level meetings” could be added to both weekly encounters, which will continue during the suspension of the Westminster Parliament from the second week of September until October 14, the British minister stipulated.

“If I have been encouraged over the last few weeks by my discussions with European leaders on the willingness to discuss alternative solutions to the antidemocratic backstop, it now time for both parties to step up the tempo,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated in a press release.

The security net, or “backstop”, aims to avoid the re-establishment of a hard border in Ireland. It stipulates that failing a better solution at the end of a transition period, the entire United Kingdom remains in a “single customs area” with the EU.

Boris Johnson confirmed that his country would be leaving the EU on this date, with or without a withdrawal agreement. The one negotiated by his predecessor Theresa May had been rejected three times by the British parliament.

The UK also let it be known that it would be sending representatives specialising in the question of borders and trade policy to Brussels to lend a hand to David Frost, Boris Johnson’s adviser.

The Brussels Times

Less than half of school-age refugees go to school, says UNHCR

© Belga

Less than half of refugees of school-age receive a formal education, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) explained on Friday, warning against the negative consequences that would entail for recipient countries.

“We must invest in the education of refugees or else we will pay the price of a generation of children condemned to grow up incapable of becoming independent, finding work or making their contribution to the community,” Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, stated.

According to estimates quoted in the agency’s report, around 3.7 million young persons out of the 7.1 million school-age refugees do not go to school. Some 63% of refugee children attend primary school, versus 91% of children in general.

This rate does not exceed 24% in secondary schools, well below the 84% registered globally. Only 3% of young refugees reach university, compared to 37% of their peers who do so.

The UNHCR is calling on governments and donors to launch initiatives for the building of schools, teacher training and covering young refugees’ education fees. Without education or hope of finding work, “adolescents are more vulnerable to exploitation and the temptation to turn to illegal activities or lapse into despair,” the report continued.

The Brussels Times

As electric cars gain prominence, manufacturers worry for the cheap car

An electric car charging. Credit: MikesPhotos/ Pixabay.

With growing regulations on cars and the rise of the more expensive electric vehicles manufacturers fear one type of car is nearing extinction: the cheap little hatchback.

“Volkswagen wants to make electric mobility available for as many people as possible. So we want to sell cheaper electric cars,” said Hans-Dieter Pötsch, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of VW.

However buying a Citroën C1, Peugeot 108 or something comparable for some €10,000 will become very difficult, said Pötsch in an interview with the German newspaper, Welt am Sonntag.

Pötsch also sees EU emission regulations as playing a factor in rising costs, due to a need to move towards hybrid cars to meet the goals. “Electric will remain too expensive, and the surplus cost of around 3,000 euros for hybridization means that small city cars will rise in price by 20%. That’s too much,” he added.

Electric cars continue to increase in popularity in Europe; in the first six months of 2019, sales of electric cars doubled in the Netherlands and in July 2019, 96,000 electric cars were sold in Europe, 29% more than in July 2018.

According to an analysis by Transport and Environment, the production of electric cars will multiply six-fold between 2019 and 2025, due to the EU’s strict CO2 reduction requirements for the car industry.

Evie McCullough
The Brussels Times

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