Belgian Government breaks budget deadlock for sweeping social welfare cuts

Belgian Government breaks budget deadlock for sweeping social welfare cuts
Credit: Belga / Jonas Roosens

The Belgian Government agreed on Wednesday to cut public spending by €1.8 billion in its amended 2023 budget, as first proposed by Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. His plea had created a budget deadlock between the government's different political parties.

Le Soir has reported that the Federal Government will follow PM De Croo's advice by reducing its public spending, the majority of which (€300 million) is set to come from social welfare cuts. To appease tensions, the government's more liberal members have agreed on stricter taxes for multinational companies, which will see the Belgian State receive an additional €334 million.

The budgetary negotiations had previously been deadlocked over the potential cut to public spending, with the government's key ministers meeting at 20:30 on Wednesday, which was still ongoing by 05:00 on Thursday morning. The government’s left-wing ministers had been especially incensed by De Croo's proposal, with cabinet members labelling his measures as "provocative" to Le Soir.

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A ministerial spokesperson confirmed to The Brussels Times that these negotiations had already been taking place since the beginning of the week, the stakes of which "remained the same" on Thursday according to a government source contacted by Belga News Agency.

As a reminder, this is the second time that the federal budget is being discussed, with an agreement having initially been reached in October of last year. However, the budget had to be amended after it was revealed that the Budget Secretary failed to deliver faithful figures on Belgium's public deficit to the European Commission.

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