Belgian political parties are richer now than ever before, says study

Belgian political parties are richer now than ever before, says study
Bart De Wever, president of Belgium's richest political party N-VA. Credit: Belga

Political parties in Belgium are wealthier than ever before, particularly among Belgium's radical parties when compared to the more traditional political forces, according to a De Standaard study.

The total amount of money in the possession of Belgian political parties for 2021 was €156.8 million, which is €20 million more than in 2020. According to the Flemish newspaper, this is the highest amount ever for political party funds.

New money

The ranking in terms of funds is as follows:

  1. The Flemish nationalist party N-VA with €34.9 million
  2. Followed by the French-speaking socialists PS with €16.6 million
  3. The far-right Vlaams Belang possessed €15.4 million
  4. The francophone liberal party MR with €13.6 million
  5. Flanders' christian-democrats CD&V had €13.4 million
  6. The Flemish socialists Vooruit, the far-left unitary PVDA/PTB party, the francophone Ecolo party and Wallonia's centrist force Les Engagés (formerly CDH) all had around €11 million
  7. The Flemish liberals Open VLD had €9.8 million
  8. The Flemish Groen party possessed €6.9 million
  9. Finally, the smallest parliamentary party DéFI had €562,000

Except for Vooruit and CD&V, all parties made a profit, particularly the newer, less traditional political parties, as evidenced by the amounts resulting from subsidies.

In 2021, the six traditional parties from the Christian-democratic, liberal, and socialist families received only half of these  subsidies, that depend on the parties' election results.

PVDA/PTB's pot of gold

Another interesting information indicated by De Standaard is how PVDA/PTB fund their activities.

Most political parties in Belgium receive the majority of their funds from the government; however, the radical left-wing PVDA/PTB party's primary source of funding is membership fees.

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In Belgium, membership fees are not legally limited. As a result, the party has decided to charge its wealthier members high membership fees, raising a total of €2.2 million from membership fees in 2021.

Ad revenue

With the 2024 elections on the horizon, political parties are already planning ahead and investing heavily in advertising.

The total amount spent on advertising in 2021 was €15 million, with N-VA spending the most (€3.9 million) followed by PVDA/PTB spending (€3.2 million).

According to the study, a large amount of these funds are spent on Facebook advertisements. In total, Belgian parties spent €4.7 million on them, which makes them European leaders in Facebook advertising.

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