Mr Vande Lanotte, who is the Economy Minister in the Di Rupo government and who is also responsible for Consumers' Affairs, was speaking in the VRT's current affairs TV show on Sunday, De Zevende Dag. He argues that a lot of cash that tax payers lose to the government, comes back to the people. "Who receives the child benefit: the state or your children? Health insurance: does the money go to the state or to those in need of medical assistance? This allegation is wrong. I'd say we are working 2 months for the taxman every year, and 10 months for ourselves."
However, Mr Vande Lanotte does not deny the fact that the tax burden is very high. "This has to do with the crisis. In 2007, tax pressure was at 48 percent, now this has increased to 53 percent." The vice-PM wants to step up the fight against fraud even more.
Still, Mr Vande Lanotte is also defending our tax system. "Bulgaria has tax rates which are 3 times lower than in Belgium. Still, I see that there are many Bulgarians who want to come to Ghent, but hardly any Ghent residents moving to Bulgaria. If you look at the countries in the welfare top-10, you will notice that all of them have a tax pressure of some 50 percent."
Vande Lanotte counters De Gucht
The West-Fleming also says that individual savers and tax payers should not pay the bill if a bank has to be saved. "It's up to the banking sector to solve the problem." The EU is working on a guideline to make it possible to take money from those who have more than 100,000 euros on their savings account to make a contribution when a bank has to be saved.
The European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht (Flemish liberal) told reporters this week that the "socialists should follow a banking course", countering socialist opposition to the idea. "Well, then I suggest that Mr De Gucht would follow a course himself to learn what it's like to work your whole life to save some money, and to see it taken away next."