The Brussels government has underestimated the Regional budget deficit for 2018 by €312.7 million.
The 2018 deficit is not €599.5 million, as was first said, but €912.2 million, according to the Belgian Court of Audit’s 24th Book, which is submitted to the Brussels Parliament and the United Assembly of the Common Community Commission.
“As a result, the net deficit amounts to €912.2 million, representing almost 22% of total net revenue,” the Court of Audit said in a statement, reports Het Nieuwsblad.
Additionally, the Court of Audit also expressed a negative opinion on the 2018 general account of the Regional entity, which consists of the departments of the government and 22 autonomous administrative bodies (ABI).
The 2018 financing balance calculated by the National Accounts Institute (NAI) amounts to -€437.3 million, while the Region’s budget estimate was for a financing balance of zero.
This difference is due to exceptional investment expenses (such as the renovation of the tunnels) and safety expenditure (in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 22 March), which the Brussels government had neutralised for €349 million when drawing up the budget, reports Bruzz.
However, the Court of Audit notes that in 2018, Belgium did not formally request the European Commission to exclude public investments from the budget.
At the end of 2018, the direct Regional debt stood at €3.4 billion, an increase of €406 million compared to 2017, reports Het Nieuwsblad.
The Brussels Times