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Yearbook 2012

2012 BelgiumBelgium. Belgium's newly-appointed government in January froze payments for, among other things. rail maintenance and procurement to the defense in accordance with EU demands for reduced budget deficits. At the end of the month, the major unions organized a 24-day general strike, the first in the country in six years. The protest was directed at austerity policy, and not least plans to raise the actual retirement age. The strike caused severe traffic disruptions.

In February, it was found that Belgium was the first euro area country to formally go into recession as growth was negative two quarters in a row.

A national mourning day was held in Belgium in March following a severe bus accident in Switzerland. Most of the 28 victims were Belgians, and 22 of them were sixth-graders who had been on a school trip in the Alps.

2012 Belgium

According to countryaah, the wounds of the old pedophile heritage that shook the country in the 1990s were rediscovered when the country's highest court in August gave Michelle Martin the go-ahead to settle in a nunnery. Many Belgians raged that a woman who let two eight-year-old girls starve to death and allowed horrific abuse to other children was allowed to leave prison. Martin was sentenced in 2004 to 30 years in prison for assisting in murder and sex abuse of children along with then husband Marc Dutroux.

The municipal elections in October became a new success for the Flemish separatists in the N-VA (New Flemish Alliance), which was already the largest party in the national parliament and now became the largest in Flanders. The leader Bart De Wever was elected mayor of Antwerp.

Car manufacturer Ford announced plans in October to close its Genk plant with 4,300 employees. According to union representatives, an additional 5,000 jobs were risked by subcontractors.

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