Belgium's federal government, which met on Monday, found an agreement to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices on consumers, negotiators said.
As expected, the extended social tariff will be maintained. At the beginning of this year, the government decided to extend this measure, which currently benefits 1 million households, or about 2 million people.
The extension, which was decided as part of the Covid measures, was set to expire at the end of the year, but will continue next year for a period that has not yet been decided, according to the Belga News Agency.
People in the most precarious situations will also benefit from a reduction of €80 to €100.
Additionally, the federal taxes that are part of the energy bill will be converted into excise duties as of 1 January.
This way, the government will be able to achieve the energy standard to help households as well as companies that risk losing some of their competitiveness with neighbouring countries, and in the long term, the measure will allow a "tax shift" to be achieved.
Certain practices, such as the unilateral increase in the down payment bill, will also be banned.
However, a generalised energy cheque is not yet part of the agreement.
The total amount that will be devoted to fighting the increase of the energy bill by these measures amounts for the moment to more than €500 million, even if, as long as there is no agreement on everything, there is no agreement at all, a source told Belga.