Brussels government urged to shift €1 million from bank to struggling SMEs

Brussels government urged to shift €1 million from bank to struggling SMEs

The Mouvement réformateur asked the Brussels government on Monday to reallocate €1,000,000 promised to the NewB bank and use it to support SMEs facing the effects of the energy crisis.

"Last Thursday, the Secretary of State for Economic Transition, Barbara Trachte (Ecolo), proposed to the government to support the recapitalisation of the NewB cooperative bank, already in deficit shortly after being launched, to the sum of €1,000,000," the head of the MR group in the Brussels parliament, Alexia Bertrand, noted.

"The Brussels government announced, on the one hand, that it has a hard time coming up with its 2023 budget, but on the other hand finds a million for a bank that does not work. In times of budget scarcity, there are clearly other priorities for Brussels," Bertrand argued in a joint press release with fellow MR legislator Clémentine Barzin.

For the Liberal parliamentarians, it is time for the region's government to support the real economy instead of pumping public money into a sinking fund by investing it in a bank that is unprofitable because it does not have enough customers.

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In this context, the position taken by Ecolo is more partisan than objective, they argued.

"We have been calling for weeks for direct aid to support the self-employed and SMEs in the face of an energy crisis of an unprecedented scale," Barzin said in the joint press release. "This competence is the purview of the Brussels Region and we see nothing forthcoming."

The two liberal representatives believe the money would be better spent providing SMEs and self-employed persons with direct aid linked to the energy crisis — even if €1 million would not be enough - or other forms of assistance, such as loan mechanisms and cash-flow support.

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