Flemish bus drivers were paid danger money for entering Brussels
Flemish public transport operator De Lijn paid its staff danger money for driving in Brussels during last week's heightened terror alert - an incentive it says will not happen again, after it was criticised by politicians.
Drivers on the 45 De Lijn bus routes that serve Brussels were paid an extra €50 a day from Monday to Thursday this week while the region's terror threat level was at its highest.
Flemish mobility minister Ben Weyts said the payments sent out the wrong message. Representatives from the Open VLD party also condemned the idea.
A De Lijn spokesman said: "The threat level has now been revised to 3 [from 4], which means that the measure is no longer applicable. It was, in any case, a unique and exceptional measure. It will not be repeated in the future."
Meanwhile, the economic impact of the Brussels terror threat on the hospitality and retail industries has been estimated at €52m a day by Flemish public broadcaster VRT.
Employment minister Kris Peeters said 535 businesses in Brussels had made staff temporarily unemployed - a measure available to them in exceptional circumstances when they are unable to trade.
Passenger numbers at Brussels airport were down 20% during the level 4 terror alert, while online shopping and childcare enjoyed a boost.
Photo: Vitaly Volkov/Wikimedia. Licensed under Creative Commons