Although Belgium has weathered this economic recession better than other European countries, this is, in particular, owing to a strong social welfare system which it has in place, thus making it possible to cushion the blow of economic crises. So says Elio Di Rupo, the President of the PS (Social Party) targeted this weekend by Peter De Roover the head of the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), upon the former’s record as leader of the previous government.
M De Roover this weekend stressed the rupture that the present government has implemented as regards employment, when compared to the previous coalition, which he claims “inflated” the figures by promoting public sector employment.
The Flemish Nationalist holds the Di Rupo government responsible for “artificial job creation” inflated by overstating public sector figures. The Di Rupo government “gave the public the impression of having got through the crisis” whilst “sending the public a bill later”, according to Peter De Roover, stressing the decrease in direct public sector employment in 2015, the first time for seventeen years.
The deputy CD&V (Christian Democratic and Flemish party) Hendrik Bogaert leapt to the defence of the previous government’s record, in which he was Secretary of State for the Public Sector. On Monday, M Di Rupo responded, by means of a press release.
The defence of a “strong and efficient [social security system] proved once again to pay off during the 2008 economic crisis, ” he stressed, basing his argument upon two studies which were published by the University of Oxford in 2014.
The mitigation of the harmful effects of the crisis in Belgium may be explained by the stuctrure of the employment market, the minimum wage, as well as social security and unemployment policies.
“Social protection for individuals and defending their interests in a societal model, advocating cohesion, has allowed Belgium to contain the effects of the economic crisis. It is ridiculous to call into question this model using purely ideological attacks and to thus dismantle the all too essential mechanism between all Belgians that is social security,” the former Prime Minister asserts.