To gauge sentiment on public affairs, nothing makes dissatisfaction quite as clear as a strike. On matters of policy, there's never any shortage of criticisms to aim at governments and institutions. But to coalesce around a single, particularly displeasing issue highlights a more acute failure that is growing unsustainable.
Belgium has seen a number of civic movements bring disruption to public services, the last being two weeks ago and still more are in store. But it isn't only the public sector that is showing its frustration through industrial action. In the face of ever-mounting energy bills, a growing number of households have indicated that they are prepared to stop paying, such is their discontent with the lack of government assistance.
The results were revealed in a survey of Belgians in all regions and were especially notable in Wallonia, where 43% of citizens stated contemplating not paying their energy bills. Of course, there is a difference between talking the talk and actually refusing to pay bills. But the findings do indicate both the exasperation with the present situation and the point many have been pushed to.
Whilst the survey asked only if respondents are considering not paying energy bills, the present economic outlook makes it likely that many can't pay, whether they would like to or not.
Ministers have stressed on several occasions the need for EU-wide assistance, asserting that Belgium by itself is too small to tackle the issue – "it is only at the European level that we can stop the bleeding", De Croo has insisted. Yet this line of argument loses credibility in the face of profits harvested by energy providers in Belgium.
Would you not pay? Let @Orlando_tbt know.
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