Ecolo-Groen has submitted a bill in Parliament that aims to provide better protection for asbestos victims. “Today, for example, it is not possible for victims who receive compensation to also file a complaint with the court against the responsible companies. With this bill we put an end to this injustice,” says Green MP and petitioner Kristof Calvo.
Asbestos victims who were exposed to asbestos at work can claim compensation from the Federal Agency for Occupational Risks (Fedris). In other cases, i.e. not professionally related, they can appeal to the Asbestos Fund. However, if they do, it will remain very difficult to take legal action against those responsible for the asbestos pollution.
With the bill, Ecolo-Groen wants to give these asbestos victims more legal options. The parties want to achieve this by introducing the French legal principle of ‘inexcusable error’. An inexcusable error occurs when the person responsible for the error was aware or should have been aware of the danger to which the asbestos victim was exposed and did not take the necessary measures to protect him or her.
In addition, the green parties want better support for asbestos victims. For example, they propose paying out part of the compensation as a lump sum instead of recurring interest.
Ecolo-Groen also wants the companies responsible for asbestos exposures to contribute more to the asbestos fund (1.01 percent of their company’s payroll instead of 0.01 percent). Today, the asbestos fund is partly financed by contributions from all employers, including employers who are not responsible for asbestos.
“It is unfair that companies and employers that have played no role in asbestos pollution should have to contribute as much as the historical polluters. According to the ‘polluter pays’ principle, we want those responsible for asbestos pollution to also contribute more to the asbestos fund. No more than logical,” says Calvo.
A similar proposal by MP Valerie Van Peel (N-VA), also about asbestos, was previously voted down.
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