Belgium’s budget deficit reached 1.8% of the GDP last year, or 8.7 billion euros, Budget Minister David Clarinval announced on Friday.
The debt represents 99.4% of the GDP, which is below the symbolic threshold of 100% for the first time in eight years.
The deficit’s breakdown is 7.17 billion at the federal level and 1.56 billion at the level of federated entities and local authorities.
The shortfall in tax revenues is much higher than expected, amounting to 3.1 billion euros. Social security expenditures exceeded by 643 million what was forecasted in October 2018.
These figures are due to a continued increase in expenses related to Belgium’s aging population, particularly for pensions and health care. On the other hand, unemployment expenditures are falling.
Following Michel’s government’s resignation in December 2018, the federal level has been routine business and has operated under provisional twelfths.
“It is essential to install a government quickly as possible with full decision-making and operational capacity to take measures to increase growth potential, boost job creation and ensure the recovery of public finances,” Clarinval said.