Corona crisis sends budget a further 35.6 billion euro into the red

The coronavirus crisis is having a big impact on public purse. According to the Federal Budget Department’s end of year  estimation of the state of the public coffers, the crisis has forced up Belgium’s budget deficit to the tune of 35.6 billion euro. This brings the total budget deficit for 2020 to 44.9 billion euro. In absolute figures this is the largest budget deficit in the country’s history.  

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”.



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