Belgium has “come in leaps and bounds” economically in the past year, but there are still important issues to deal with, including unemployment which is particularly hard on certain groups and in certain regions, as well as national debt, ruled IMF (International Monetary Fund) as a two-week-long visit came to an end on Tuesday. IMF is mostly impressed with wage restraint in Belgium and the fiscal mechanism allowing income to stay independent of inflation, with the fiscal shift which led to lower income tax, and with efforts to limit the impact of aging through pension reform in particular.
At the same time, IMF deems “essential” to better balance budgets by implementing in-depth reforms and improving the efficiency of public expenditure, in order to limit national debt. To facilitate growth, Belgium must urgently deal with high unemployment in certain population groups and in certain parts of the country, which implies adapting education and training to the job market, recommends IMF.
Belgium must continue and increase its efforts, especially as growth remains weak. Now is the time to create the conditions for long-term debt reduction, which will allow the country to weather future crises, to boost economic recovery, and to support social cohesion, adds IMF.
Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)