Flanders in "a better place"

The Flemish Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois has sketched a positive picture of the future. In his September Declaration to the Flemish Parliament the Flemish leader spoke of the economic indicators that were pointing towards gains and that, Mr Bourgeois insisted, was good news for all Flemings. 2018 promises to be a year of investments and ambitious reforms in education, while the energy charge levied to tackle debts in the solar energy sector is being consigned to history.

The Flemish PM told MFPs that Flanders was in a better place than a year ago. This was partly because last year the Flemish were still digesting the news that important trade partner Britain is leaving the EU, but today Mr Bourgeois is full of hope as the impact of Brexit on employment and exports seems limited.

Moreover, economic growth is up as is job creation with fewer unemployed across Flanders and in all age categories. 66,000 new jobs are being created. In addition, consumer confidence is higher than before the financial crisis. Last year Flanders exported over 300 million euros for a first time making the region the world's 13th biggest exporter.

Mr Bourgeois was keen to stress investments. In 2018 Flanders has a balanced budget. 610 million euros are being invested in mobility, public works, school building, well-being, research and development, the sewerage system, heritage and sports infrastructure.