Federal budget: despite spending Sunday at Val Duchesse great strides not made

The Prime Minister, Charles Michel, and the main federal government ministers spent Sunday at Val Duchesse, going over the budget figures with a fine toothcomb from 11 a.m. through to 4.30 p.m. Several proposals were tackled but the results of these discussions are awaited with baited breath.

“We did not settle the real nub issues,” one of the meeting participants said.

The participant went on, “The Prime Minister is yet to be sure of the ground.”

He attempted this bilaterally on Saturday, and then by means of a plenary meeting on Sunday. Nobody has the sense that discussions have reached a consensus.

On October 11th, Charles Michel is expected in Parliament to give his opening speech after the summer recess.

The participant also said Michel operating by the strategy of targeting “a given deadline by which time he will come up with a list or set of budgetary proposals drawn up.”

The individual interviewed went further, “This has advantages and disadvantages, but may lead to a breakthrough during the preparation of a standard budget.”

The current exercise is, however, “immense”, it emerges from comments expressed from the meeting.

The federal government must find some 4.2 billion euros in its 2016 and 2017 budgets, if it wishes to maintain its trajectory to balance the country’s books.

The ministers discussed a number of tangible initiatives, with the possibility of meeting this objective in mind. It is thought that they discussed the corporation tax reform. At the same time “working groups“ continue to investigate numerous outstanding “technical questions”.

The various government departments are expecting a further meeting on Monday evening in the hope of reaching agreement by the end of this week.

The Brussels Times

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