Belgium’s economy needs a €37.5 billion shock injection to restart after the lockdown prompted by the new coronavirus (Covid-19), according to Paul Magnette, the president of the Walloon socialist party (PS).
In an interview published in Saturday’s issue of Le Soir, Magnette laid out a series of measures to help the hospitality sector, hospitals and the culture industry, and also to shore up households’ buying power.
He said he had held “broad consultations” with representatives of the sectors concerned as well as economists, “not necessarily socialist ones,” in Belgium. Drawing inspiration from the works of University of Ghent economist Gert Peersman, he argues that “pumping in money today enables you to protect tomorrow’s fiscal income by saving businesses and jobs.”
The “shock injection” proposed by Magnette includes the some €10 billion already spent by Belgium, and a further €12 billion to extend the system of temporary unemployment and support for independent businesses, bringing the total to €22 billion.
The PS then wants an additional infusion of a little over €15 billion to complete the proposed package of €37.59 billion, the “amount necessary to produce a shock injection.”