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On this day December 9, 1425

Pope Martin V issued a papal bull establishing the Catholic University of Leuven, the largest, oldest and most prominent university in Belgium.

In the 15th century the city of Leuven, with the support of John IV, Duke of Brabant, made a formal request for a university. Pope Martin V issued a papal bull dated 9 December 1425 founding the University in Leuven as a Studium Generale. Read More…

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Dexia faces $3 billion loss

The FrancoBelgian bank Dexia has announced it will restructure and cut 3% of its staff after posting a 3 billion full-year loss.

Dexia building in Luxembourg

Dexia Luxembourg

Dexia says it will close operations in Australia, eastern Europe, Mexico and Scandinavia and reduce business in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Dexia specialises in finance to local governments but also runs standard retail banking outlets in Belgium and France. It will cease proprietary trading as part of the restructuring. Read More…

Herman Van Rompuy was sworn in as PM

The Van Rompuy I Government is the new federal government of Belgium since 30 December 2008. It took office when the Flemish Christian democrat Herman Van Rompuy (CD&V) was sworn in as Prime Minister after the Leterme I government had fallen on 22 December 2008.

herman-van-rompuy

Herman Van Rompuy

On 19 December 2008, Yves Leterme offered the resignation of his government to King Albert after a crisis surrounding the sale of Fortis to BNP Paribas erupted.

Leterme, Jo Vandeurzen, and Didier Reynders were accused of violating the separation of powers by trying to influence the Court of Appeals and of exerting improper influence by the First Chairman of the Court of Cassation. Three days later the resignation was accepted by the king.

The Van Rompuy I government still needs to receive the confidence of the Chamber of Representatives to be official, which will be voted on Friday 2 January 2009. Read More…

Belgian PM resign over Fortis sale

Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme and his government resign amid a controversy over the sale of the financial service company Fortis.

yves-leterme

Yves Leterme

On July 14, 2008, facing the imminent failure to meet a self imposed deadline to enact “constitutional reform” consisting of further devolution of powers to the nation’s three linguistic communities, Leterme tendered his resignation to King Albert II, the head of state.

On July 17, King Albert, after holding a flurry of consultations with leaders of political parties, labor unions, and the employers’ association, rejected Leterme’s resignation.

Instead, the king appointed a three person commission of representatives of the linguistic communities to investigate how to restart the reform process. The commission was to report to the king by July 31, 2008. Read More…

Eurozone in recession

The Eurozone is now officially in a recession, due to the recently released figures showing that, in the third quarter of 2008, the economy shrunk by 0.2%.

European Central Bank

European Central Bank

For a recession to be official, the economy must have shrunk for at least two consecutive quarters. This is the case as the Eurozone’s economy also shrunk by 0.2% in the second quarter of this year.

Howard Archer, the chief European economist for Global Insight commented on these results. “Not only did the third quarter contraction in GDP confirm that the Eurozone is now in recession, but latest data and survey evidence indicate that the fourth quarter is likely to see a sharper fall in GDP as the financial crisis bites harder,” he stated.

This development comes after two large countries in the Eurozone, Germany and Italy announced that they were in a recession. Read More…

Fortis partially nationalised

Fortis (Euronext: FORA, Euronext: FORB, LuxSE: FOR) is a banking, insurance, and investment management company, and is the 20th largest business in the world by revenue. The Benelux countries are Fortis’ home base and its strength. Fortis’ banking operations include network (retail), commercial, and merchant banking; its insurance products include life, health, and property/casualty lines.

On September 27, 2008 Filip Dierckx was named as the new CEO of Fortis, to be approved by a shareholder meeting, after the shares of Fortis dropped 35% in one week time. Fortis also was subject of discussion on an emergency meeting of the Dutch and Belgian minister of finance and financial regulators, and rumours about partial or total takeovers are spread. Read More…

This Bud’s for you. InBev acquire Anheuser-Busch

Belgium/Brazilian brewer InBev announced that it will acquire its U.S. rival Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion ($70.00 per share). This combination will create the world’s largest brewer with brands including Stella Artois and Becks in addition to Budweiser.

The all-cash agreement, for $70 per share, or almost $52 billion, would create the world’s largest brewer, uniting the maker of Budweiser and Michelob with the producer of Stella Artois, Bass and Brahma. The two companies would have yearly sales of more than $36.4 billion, surpassing the current number one brewer, London based SABMiller. Read More…