Parliament appoves 1 billion euro extra to pay for corona measures

Belgium’s Federal Parliament has approved 1 billion euro extra funding to pay for measures to deal with the current coronavirus crisis. The first tranche of 1 billion euro that had been added to the emergency budget has already been used up. 

As the Federal Government has no majority in parliament it is up to federal MPs to approve or as the case may be reject any measures that it puts forward. In March an emergency budget was passed that earmarked 1 billion euro to pay for the measures taken to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

It was intended to cover April, May and June. However, this funding has now been exhausted. 833 million euro went to the Federal Health Department to buy masks, goggles, medicine and protective clothing. 47 million euro went to the Defence Department to buy fabric masks and 7.2 million euro has been spent on the purchase of mask filters.

The repatriation of Belgians left stranded abroad due to the crisis cost 3 million euro. A further 3 million euro was spend on communication and informing the public by means of poster, flyers and advertisements on television, radio and in the press.

The figures come from the Federal Budget Minister David Clarinval (Francophone liberal, photo above). During the debate all the parties asked for clarity about what the extra cash would be used for. Mr Clarinval explained 200 million euro has already been earmarked for frontline care, psychological help and a vaccine unit.

The remaining 800 million euro has yet to be assigned. The Budget Minister stressed that the money could only be used in the fight against the novel coronavirus and the socio-economic challenges we face in its midst.