The Federal Secretary of State responsible for the budget Eva De Bleeker (Flemish liberal) told VRT News that "The impact of corona is unprecedented. It is the largest deficit since the 1980’s".
In absolute terms 44.9 billion euro is an historic depth. It represents 10% of GDP. However, it is not a record. In the 1980’s the budget deficit reached 16% of GDP.
Although not at all good, the deficit is not as large as had been expected. The previous estimation that was carried out in October 2020 had predicted a deficit of 47.6 billion euro. 2.7 billion euro higher than is now the case. Of the 44.9-billion-euro deficit, 35.6 billion euro is due to the coronavirus crisis.
Ms De Bleeker told VRT News that "What we above all need is economic growth to help get us out of the crisis".
She added that "In addition to this I will be extremely strict when looking at proposals that don’t involve essential support related to the coronavirus crisis or (economic) relaunch”.