European Commission proposals to increase the scope of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) by an additional €20 billion would benefit Belgium by an additional €300 million in subsidies, according to Belga News Agency.
Presented last week by the Commission, the REPowerEU plans are the European Union’s response to the growing European energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent disruptions to international energy supplies.
Belgian finance council cautions against overreliance on European aid
In order to support this financial response to energy pressure, the Commission recently advised that European nations accelerate their national recovery and resilience plans. To facilitate this, the Commission has proposed widening RRF financial support, drawing subsidies from the auctioning of gas emission allowances reserves.
The proposal is still in its infancy, however preparatory work between the Belgian national government and the Commission is already underway.
On 13 April, Belgium’s High Council of Finance (HCF) warned that Belgium should not overly rely on the EU’s RRF, which initially promised Belgium €5.9 billion in loans and subsidies. The HCF stated the government must not see the loans as a “cheap lunch,” as they are complicated by Belgium’s debt situation.
The HCF has proposed that the Belgian government cut back and allocate an additional €9 billion in 2023-2025, a figure much larger than the loans proposed by the European Commission.