Monitoring Committee predicts budget deficit to rise further over the next five years

A report by the Budget Monitoring Committee predicts that Belgium’s budget deficit will rise still further to 11.8 billion euro by the end of the 2019 – 2024 legislature. The Monitoring Committee’s predictions form the basis of an article in Monday’s edition of the financial daily ‘De Tijd’.   

Meanwhile, in 2024 the structural budget deficit will stand at 11.38 billion euro or 2.12% of GDP. Given the Monitoring Committee’s projections it would seem a very difficult task indeed for any new federal government to meet the budgetary goals set out in the Stability Plan.  

In order to meet these criteria 8 billion euro in saving will have to be found for the 2020 budget. The aim of balancing the books in the 2021 budget now seems to be under threat. Moreover, the Monitoring Committee’s figures don’t take into consideration tax cuts promised by a number of parties during the campaign for the federal and regional elections in May of this year.   

In a response to the Monitoring Committee’s report, the Flemish liberal Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister in Belgium’s caretaker federal government Alexander De Croo said

"The Monitoring Committee’s figures show once again the urgency of the need to form a new federal government. Keeping control of the budget will remain one of the most important challenges during the next few years. Amongst other reasons, because the cost of the aging population will continue to rise year on year. Only an effective government with full powers can meet these challenges".