Economic exit strategy: “Grease to our elbow” says Bart De Wever

Bart De Wever, the leader of the Flemish nationalist N-VA, is pressing for an exit plan to restart the economy after the corona crisis.  Mr De Wever claims Belgium is falling behind other countries as far as plans for an economic restart are concerned.  “Economy and health sit cheek by jowl” he adds. “The risk is that the reaction to the crisis becomes worse than the crisis itself.”

Corona measures remain in force until 3 May, but the national security council is expected to provide greater clarity about what will happen after 3 May on Friday.

Mr De Wever, the leader of Belgium’s biggest party and a key opposition figure, says an exit plan to restart the economy safely is urgently needed: “The next months will decide our prosperity for the next decade.”

Mr De Wever isn’t pressing for an exact date, rather for light at the end of the tunnel: “We are lagging behind other countries, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria are further advanced in exit plans.”

The Mayor of Antwerp adds that sacrificing prosperity also costs a gigantic number of healthy years of life. He warns against fear that he says provides poor counsel.  He is worried it will be hard to make good ground lost to foreign economies: “If we remain paralysed, we will lose market share.”

Belgium’s exit strategy is being prepared by the GEES Group of Experts that includes scientists and captains of industry.  Mr De Wever is unhappy with the composition and insists politicians must take the decisions.

With regard to federal politics Mr De Wever spoke of his preparedness to discuss a new federal government as early as June and reiterates his opposition to the special powers enjoyed by PM Wilmès’s minority government.