Belgian government bonds a "historic success"

The latest issue of Belgian government bonds is a big success. While the last issue raised some 80 million euros, over the government picked up over 5 billion this time. Apparently, a lot of Belgians bought the five-year bonds, which have a yield of 4 percent. However, the European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht has sent out a warning.

Today was the final day to buy the bonds. The caretaker government and PM Yves Leterme invested a lot of effort to promote the state bonds, which have a yield of 4 percent for savers - the PM made it clear he also bought some himself.

The Debt Agency announced tonight that over 5 billion euros were raised. This is a huge success, says Jean Deboutte of the debt Agency, who calls it a "historic operation."

The success is also good news for the federal exchequer. Money lent from savers at a 4 percent interest rate is cheaper for the government than money lent on the international financial markets, where the Belgian interest rate rose to over 5.5 percent during the past weeks.

Citizens who have signed up for the bonds, will enjoy a special (low) tax rate on their interest bonus, Mr Leterme announced. However, the European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht (Flemish liberal) warned that these special conditions could interfere with European regulations. The EU will look into the matter.