Belgium’s federal government is now entering a new phase marking the transition from managing the crisis sparked by the pandemic to pursuing recovery-oriented reform, the office of Prime Minister Alexander De Croo disclosed on Friday after a restricted ministerial committee meeting.
The focus in the coming weeks will be on two priorities: the 2022 budget and the post-Covid recovery and transition plan that will be complementary to the projects approved under the European recovery plan.
The Prime Minister is scheduled to deliver his state of the union address on 12 October and submit a budget to the European Commission three days later. The first meetings on the budget will be held next week, perhaps with a restricted committee, a governmental source said.
In the Spring, Prime Minister De Croo had consulted the governmental partners on the efforts Belgium would be making, in addition to the European plan, on jobs, digital matters, climate and the environment.
Working groups will focus on the issues and “concrete and ambitious measures” are expected, he said. The two series of discussions will run parallel to each other.
Federal line ministers have also discussed the programme for the coming period. After the budget, top priorities include energy, preparations for COP26 (the 26th Conference of Parties to the Paris Climate Agreement) and socio-economic issues.
These include pensions, a hot topic in the media in recent days. In this regard, “there needs to be a calm, in-depth discussion on content,” a source in the office of the Prime Minister said.
A proposal by Minister Karine Lalieux – in charge of pensions – is to be examined and discussed more broadly within the Federal Government. However, this reform is not linked to the discussions on the 2022 budget.