EC struggles to assess Belgian efforts to cut national debt

Prime Minister Michel says that the European Commission’s latest recommendations for Belgium are an "encouragement". Belgium sidesteps any sanctions because the commission can't make up its mind on whether Belgium has made enough efforts to cut the national debt.

Belgium together with Greece and Italy are the only EU states with a national debt in excess of 100% of national output and that could have led the EU to start disciplinary action. Reducing the national debt is a priority for the Belgian government. PM Charles Michel: "The last three, four years, we made government finances sound. We cut taxes and took decisions in favour of greater security and to fight terrorism."

"The report's an encouragement to work even harder until the last day of parliament, to take decisions in favour of economic recovery and growth, investments, jobs and sound government finances."

Marianne Thyssen, the Belgian on the European Commission, says that the EC's report is a warning! "The commission says it's unable to judge really and is leaving things be. Next year the elements of uncertainty will have disappeared because we will then possess information about how much the reformed corporation tax raises and then we will tally things up."

"The national debt must be cut. Belgium's been asked to take structural action to cut it by 0.6% a year. The norm for the debt is 50% of national output. Ours is 100%".