The deal totals 2.03 billion euros, reducing the Belgian participation in BNP Paribas to 7.8 percent coming from 10.3. PM Charles Michel told reporters in the Czech Republic - where he is meeting the Czech president and PM - that the transaction is "an important momentum, a major operation and a signal to the European Union concerning debt reduction."
But there's more: "It's essential for me that this operation allows more scope for the domestic investment pact, which I cherish a lot. (...) This is a decision of good and common sense", added Michel.
The PM hopes the EU will be more willing to allow Belgium to borrow extra money for extra investments, considering the latest move. Michel was talking about major projects in energy storage and mobility/infrastructure.
Critics say that by selling a quarter of its shares, the Belgian state will also partly lose out on yearly dividends from the French bank. The impact will not yet be felt this year yet, with the government receiving some 350 million.