The French-speaking Socialist Party (PS) wants middle-class families in Belgium to see their net purchasing power go up by at least €100 to pay the more expensive energy bills, said State Secretary Thomas Dermine on Tuesday.
The immediate challenge for the Federal Government will be to provide support to the middle class, which is not (yet) covered by the social tariff for electricity and gas, Dermine said in an interview with Bel RTL.
"From the side of the PS, we think that an increase in net purchasing power of at least €100 is needed to cope with the increase in energy prices," he said, adding that extra measures to reduce the energy bills of citizens and companies, and increase wages ("via an increase in flat-rate costs or via tax credits, for example") should be discussed at the Consultative Committee meeting on Wednesday.
The Committee will meet to see what the initiatives of the different governments are to cope with the skyrocketing energy prices, and how the authorities can protect people as best as possible.
'Consultation on what?'
In the meantime, however, Flemish Energy Minister Zuhal Demir strongly criticised the European and federal energy policy, saying that she does not know what the Consultative Committee wants to discuss, reports De Morgen.
"Refusing consultation would be impolite, but consultation on what? With what ideas is the Federal Government coming to the Committee? No agenda has been provided yet," she said at a meeting in Beringen on Tuesday.
Within its powers, Flanders does not need a Consultative Committee to strengthen the renovations and roll-out of renewable energy, Demir stressed. "It would be very strange if we were to spring into action only today, as we have been taking decision after decision since the beginning of this year."
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"As we are also demonstrating here today, Flanders has its homework in order, with more than €1 billion to help people renovate and use less energy," she added.
However, Demir also said that there are interventions that can be carried out quickly at the federal and European level, such as making a final decision on Belgium's nuclear exit. "[The Federal Government] should extend as many nuclear power plants as possible for at least 20 years. I have been asking for this for two years now, but there has been no response."