Thursday, 15 March 2018
The European Commission does not yet have sufficient information from the Belgian Government on what exactly it intends to include in its Investment Pact, in view of a green light from Europe, indicated the Deputy Director General of the Economy and Finance Department of the Community Executive, the Belgian Servaas Deroose, heard Wednesday at the Chamber’s Budget Commission. Prime Minister Charles Michel’s Investment Pact rests on some 60 billion euros of projects in connection with mobility, energy transition, digital agenda, State authority and infrastructure.
In order to avoid a state budget overload, Belgium requests from the Commission a readjustment of its budget path of 0.5% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). All while respecting the public deficit ceiling of 3%, and a reduction of the debt ratio above 1% over an average period of three years.
The Government must also prove that this is not merely added expenditure, but investments with long-term growth potential for the country’s economy. Discussions between Belgian and European authorities are therefore making good progress.
The Commission considers, however, that there are still too many grey areas about the exact content of the 60 billion, explained Mr. Deroose.
“What is public, what is public-private? There still hasn’t been a precise examination of the content, nor of its implications vis-à-vis European Budgetary Legislation,” he commented. The Commission is waiting for clarification. “It is still too soon to say where the stumbling blocks will be.” The quality of the investments will be examined, on the basis of a refined list which the Government must provide.
Meanwhile, the first part of the Pact has been completed, corresponding to nine billion euros for 2020, to be allocated to various projects, among which support to the Myrrha Project, the finalization of the RER, or cyber security. Out of these 9 billion, 1,733 concern the federal entity, and 7,3 the federated entities.
The Brussels Times