Dear members, dear colleagues, dear friends and partners,

As in many other countries, far-reaching measures to contain the propagation of the Coronavirus have been put in place in Belgium.

To ensure the safety of our staff and in a sense of societal responsibility, the CESI Secretariat will telework until April 3rd. Until further notice, all planned events are postponed. We will let you know in due time, and in close concertation with the responsible mandate holders, when we will resume our activities.

We remain operational and perform our tasks as accurately as possible. Nevertheless, the current situation will nevertheless have effects on our work and our activities. We will try to limit negative impacts as much as possible, and it goes without saying that we will are at your entire disposal for any request or wish – being especially aware of the needs of those fighting at the frontlines.

We will increasingly fall back on new technologies and social media for our communication, and we invite you to do the same. To contact the Secretariat, please use the email address (the same address for video meetings on Skype). Let me thank all colleagues for their professionalism, but also for their solidarity, responsibility and collegiality.

CESI is not only a confederation. We are designed to help.

It starts with our families, our friends, our colleagues and neighbours, and it includes the most vulnerable ones in our society. Solidarity is the very essence of our raison d´être, and we hope that belonging to our ‘family’ may make the situation a little bit more bearable.

In this sense, we particularly greet our members, friends and colleagues in the most severely hit regions. And we express our deepest gratitude to those on the ground for their tireless commitment – to help us all.

As Béatrice Delvaux, main editor of “Le Soir, stated last Saturday: “We are all confronted with the first day(s) of a new life. A new life that mainly aims at avoiding death. A new life in which we cannot see others – because we love them. A new life, which lacks (real) life, to save lives.”

It will be challenging, without any question. But in moments of stand-still, the look at our usual (busy) life also sharpens. Maybe, after such break, we will see things with different eyes. And maybe our focus will be a different one.

Some even take it with humour: “While our grandparents were called to go to war, we are called to stay home, to sit on the sofa and to watch Netflix”, I recently read somewhere.

In this sense, keep the spirit!

But whatever comes, we would like to thank all members of CESI for their ongoing support and solidarity. Knowing you, we know we can count on that.

Take care of yourselves – and of each other!

Klaus Heeger

(Secretary General)