Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

Belgian budget deficit of “up to 12% of national output”

The figure is jaw-dropping.   Belgian budget minister David Clarinval (Francophone liberal) told the finance and budget select committee of the lower house of parliament that Belgium’s budget deficit for this year could total up to 50 billion euros.

Combatting the spread of coronavirus and measures to shore up the economy are costing the country’s various governments piles of cash.  Funding economic support measures is weighing on the budget, while the economic downturn means plummeting revenue.

Experts now estimate that the Belgian budget deficit will total between 43 and 50 billion euros.  That works out at between 10% and 12% of GDP.

In April Belgium’s Planning Office took a speedy recovery as its point of departure, but today the thinking is that the recovery will be slower as businesses put off investments and consumer confidence is weak.  111,000 jobs could be lost this year and next.

Belgium’s monitoring committee, a gathering of the country’s leading mandarins, which follows government revenues and expenditure, will present a new report in mid-June.    

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