After nearly two months of very discreet negotiations, PS, Ecolo and MR have presented their majority agreements for both Wallonia and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.
The declaration has social, ecological and economic ambitions, all supported by a €4 billion investment plan that will finance various infrastructure, mobility, renewable energy and innovation support efforts.
In terms of the environment, Wallonia thus intends to comply with European requirements which provide for a 55% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030. It provides for the planting of 4,000 km of hedges and the creation of 1,000 hectares of new nature reserves per year.
The majority agreement also plans a series of investments for “collective and soft” mobility, in particular, to ensure that TEC public transport is free of charge for people under 26 years of age and the elderly or to create “motorways for bicycles”. The “prosumer” rate that photovoltaic panel owners had to pay from 1 January 2020 will be postponed by five years.
A black spot in Wallonia, employment will be the subject of a series of initiatives to raise the Region’s employment rate from 63.7% to 68.7% within 5 years. In the fight against poverty, the future majority promises to provide 12,000 additional social housing units. A renovation plan for 55,000 housing units will also be activated with a horizon of 2030.
In order to simplify structures, the emergency areas, which are now under the responsibility of local authorities, will in future be managed by the provinces. The coalition promised on Monday that all these measures will not be financed by some new tax. The Walloon Region also intends to return to balance by 2024.
As for the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, PS, Ecolo and MR have agreed to continue the Pact of Excellence, which will, however, be subject to “administrative simplification” and “budgetary monitoring”, Di Rupo stressed.
The criticised “Inscriptions decree” will be repealed and replaced with a new text that will take into account the free choice of parents for the school’s educational programme. The allocation of places on the basis of the geographical criteria applied today will therefore disappear. However, no deadline has been specified for entry into force.
In response to the shortage of teachers in compulsory education, the Titles and Functions Decree will be “revised”, and teachers will be encouraged to work overtime for tax purposes. Finally, higher education will be refinanced to the tune of €50 million, strong demand for the sector faced with an increase in the student population in recent years.