BELGA

Budget vote to be held during what should have been the autumn recess

The Chamber of Representatives has failed to approve the federal budget for November and December. Since the nationalists left the federal coalition last December and until a new Federal Government is former, the caretaker government is forced to work with so-called “provisional twelfths”. These are sums that allow services to continue functioning and are the equivalent to one twelfth of the budget of last year’s budget per month that they are used.     

Previously passing the provisional twelfths has been not much more than a formality. However, at this was not the case on Thursday evening. The socialists, green and far-right Vlaams Belang approved an amendment tabled by the far-left PVDA-PTB to give extra funding for those waring in the caring professions. The vote on the budget for next month and December has now had to be put back to next Thursday 31 October.    

The approval by a majority of MPs of PVDA-PTB’s amendment means that according to parliamentary rules MPs will have to wait 5 days before they can vote on the budget in its entirety.

Normally MPs should have had a week’s holiday next week as parliament was meant to have been in recess. However, with November starting next Friday and wishing to avert a US-style “shut down” of Federal Government services, the Chamber of Representatives’ Conference of Group Leaders decided that the vote on the budget should be put back to Thursday of next week.