New month, new rules. In Europe, for example, the very first supranational public prosecutor’s office will be set up on 1 June. If you go below zero with your current account or credit card, you will get off more cheaply from now on. Those who suffer from severe migraines may be reimbursed for their expensive medications. And in Brussels there are now rules for anyone who wants a reptile as a pet.
Going into the red gets cheaper
Those who fall below zero on their current account or who are unable to pay their credit card expenses on the due date will get a cheaper deal from June onwards.
The maximum rates that banks are allowed to charge customers who go overdrawn or are unable to pay credit card expenses on due date will decrease by 1 percentage point. For amounts up to 1,250 euros, the ‘penalty interest’ (maximum annual percentage rate of charge) is at most 13.5 percent (and no longer 14.5 percent) with card and 9.5 percent without card. For amounts between 1,250 and 5,000 euros, this becomes 11.5 and 8.5 percent. For even higher amounts this becomes 10.5 and again 8.5 percent.
The maximum annual percentage rates of charge for installment sales, installment loans, credit agreements and finance leases remain unchanged.
Wider reimbursement of spectacle lenses
From now on, more patients will be able to benefit from reimbursement for eyeglass lenses. Until now, lenses were reimbursed from a diopter of 8.25, regardless of age. This threshold will be lowered to 7.75 from 1 June. In addition, for those under 18 and those over 65, the threshold will drop from a diopter 8 to 7.5. About 23,500 people could benefit from the new measure.
Migraine medication is reimbursed
Aimovig, an expensive drug for severe migraine, will be reimbursed in our country from June 1. Aimovig is a preventive migraine medication from the Swiss manufacturer Novartis. The drug is effective against severe migraines and is relatively easy for patients to administer themselves with an injection pen, but it is expensive. One dose, which should normally suffice for one month, costs just over 491 euros.
With the reimbursement, the patient contribution for an ordinarily insured patient still amounts to 12.10 euros per dose; for preferentially insured patients it is 8 euros.
Incidentally, from 1 July migraine medicines Ajovy and Emgality will also be reimbursed in Belgium for the same indication, under the same conditions. That’s what Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit) said.
Railway workers are entitled to a bicycle allowance
Railway employees will receive a bicycle allowance for commuting as of June 1. Every railway employee who cycles to and from work is eligible for a bicycle allowance of EUR 0.24 per kilometre travelled. However, this only applies from a distance of at least one kilometre and with a maximum of ten kilometres. Railway employees who want a bike allowance should register through the ‘Bike to Work’ app.
Brussels allows 422 species of reptiles as pet animals
As from 1 June, 422 species of reptiles can be kept as pet animals in the Brussels-Capital Region. There are 249 lizards, 107 snakes and 66 turtles. There are also regulations on how the animals should be cared for.
Brussels did not yet have rules on which reptiles could be kept as pets, while many of the animals are not suitable for life in captivity. Minister of Animal Welfare Bernard Clerfayt therefore had a list drawn up, including 422 species.
From now on, Brussels residents wishing to keep a species that is not among the 422 must submit an approval request to Bruxelles Environnement. People in Brussels who keep reptiles that are not on the list can keep them if they can show that they already owned the animal before the positive list of reptiles came into effect.
European Public Prosecutor gets to work
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EOM), the first ever supranational public prosecution office, will be operational on 1 June. The European Public Prosecutor will be responsible for criminal investigations and prosecutions of offences against the EU budget, such as fraud, corruption or cross-border VAT fraud above 10 million euro.
Twenty-two EU Member States participate in the EOM, including Belgium. It is a fully independent body – based in Luxembourg – which seeks to cooperate with OLAF, Europol, Eurojust and the authorities of Member States that do not participate.
European Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kövesi heads the EOM. The Romanian holds a 7-year mandate, which cannot be renewed. It is assisted by one European Prosecutor per participating country. For Belgium this is Yves Van Den Berge.