Parti Socialiste (PS) leader Paul Magnette called on Saturday for the quick adoption of an economic strategy equivalent to 10% of GDP to enable Belgium to recover from the crisis caused by the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19).
Citing the example of energetic measures just adopted by Germany, France, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries to reboot their economies, Magnette said Belgium could not afford to lag behind. While it has taken a series of emergency measures since mid-March, such as temporary employment and the bridge law, that will not be enough to offset the developing crisis, the P.S. president warned.
"We need to move into high gear. We cannot wait for a new (federal) government to be formed, otherwise we run the risk of a recession stronger than in the neighbouring countries,” he said, adding that “the impact could be even greater when we bear in mind that our national businesses are often in competition with the businesses of these neighbouring countries.”
For the PS head, the “global package,” which could account for 10% of GDP, should be composed of targeted measures to support the hospitality industry, tourism, culture and the events sector, all of which have been heavily affected by the lockdown measures taken to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Magnette also reiterated a proposal made last week to provide individuals with purchasing-power support to relaunch the national economy, and he defended a huge public investment plan in mobility, infrastructure and energy-saving.
“I see that each political party is today drawing up its own (recovery) plan,” he said. “I say, ‘lets go to the table and discuss it’!”
Magnette dismissed outright the argument that a plan of that magnitude could only be implemented by a full-fledged federal government.
“Of course, we need to work on forming a new government, but given the (economic) situation, we cannot afford to wait. If we wait until September, it will be too late,” he argued, expressing the fear that will be a spate of bankruptcies if political action is not taken.
The Brussels Times