EU Commission demands new budget as soon as Belgian government is formed

Belgium and seven other eurozone countries (Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland) may not meet the requirements of the Stability and Growth Pact next year. 

Belgium is singled out by the European Commission for two reasons: the inadequacy of its public debt reduction and the risk of a "significant" deviation from the objective to return to structural balance.

Like Belgium, Austria, Portugal and Spain only returned to the European Union on 15 October with a draft budget with an unchanged policy because of national elections. While the elections in the last three countries have taken place from the end of September, the last Belgian elections took place in May 2019.

On 7 November, the European Commission predicted a sharp increase in Belgium's public deficit if nothing changes: 2.3% in 2020 (almost €11 billion). The structural balance would deteriorate by 0.3%, instead of the 0.6% improvement expected by Europe. The main reason is an increase in public spending of 4.3% instead of the recommended 1.6%.

As for the debt, it would fall slightly, just below 100% of GDP in the coming years (some €470 billion), instead of falling more sharply.

The European Commission expects these countries to provide a comprehensive draft budget plan "as soon as the new government has been formed".

In the spring, the European Commission will examine the budgetary results in order to consider possible excessive deficit procedures. At present, no Eurozone country is subject to such a procedure.

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