Things get more complicated in federal formation talks

Negotiators for a new federal government will have to find extra cash due as economic prospects have been downgraded. Some 500 million euros will have to be found, which will make negotiations even more complicated. The amount comes on top of the 17 billion euros that were already on the table.

A report from the so-called Monitoringcomité, a panel of senior economic experts, comes to the conclusion that the federal government will have to find 24 million extra this year and 570 million next year to keep the budget on the right track.

Economic growth for this year will only reach 1.1 per cent instead of 1.4 per cent, while for next year 1.5 per cent is being put forward instead of 1.8 per cent.

The parties at the table want to form a centre-right government with N-VA, CD&V, Open VLD and the Francophone liberals of MR, the so-called Swedish coalition. They are not eager to introduce new taxes, which means that the cash has to be found by making cuts in expenditures. The Christian democrats had proposed a tax on profits generated by financial transactions, but this was wiped off the table by the liberals.