Walloon businessmen are predicting a net expansion in their economic activities, exports, investments and employment over the course of the next six months whilst the majority of European economic indicators have weakened during recent months. Didier Paquot, Director of the Economic Department of the Union Walloon des Entreprises (UWE) indicated this when presenting the findings of 27th “Point Conjoncturel” on Tuesday, the survey produced by Walloon businessmen, and which analyses the economic situation in Walloon.
“Walloon business owners are somewhat optimistic, but the recovery is quite fragile. We should remain conservative. We have an open economy that is dependent on global events and there are few areas in which we are stable, given the situation in the Middle East and Ukraine, and the deterioration of the position of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) indicated by the PMI (Purchasing manager index),” the President of the UWE, Yves Prete analyses.
UWE is expecting 1.3% growth for Wallonia and Belgium and 1.5% for the Eurozone in 2015, and the following respective rates in 2016: 1.6%, 1.7% and 1.8%. “Growth in Wallonia has always been below that of Belgium as a whole. Today, exceptionally, we are seeing similar growth form both,” pointed out Didier Paquot.
The UWE welcomes the tax shift that “responds to the needs of businessmen, although they had wished for further increases in the pay scale.” Didier Paquot highlights the “drop down to 10% for social security contributions for low wages, which represented a significant employer cost when set against what this workforce could bring to a business.”
The UWE maintains that “a more significant” tax shift might create between 10,000 and 15,000 jobs in Wallonia. The Walloon government, “which is claiming to be the victim of the tax shift, has the means to either adapt its expenditure to its income, or to increase taxes,” it continued.
The survey also shows that 11% of Walloon entrepreneurs have never heard of the Marshall Plan, 27% have heard a little about it, 55% consider themselves informed and only 8% believe they are well-informed.