The coronavirus in Belgium puts pressure on the country’s economy. In Flanders, the 2020 budget deficit of the community government should drop from 436 million as planned last fall to 4.14 billion euros. Or a multiplication by a little more than nine. The figure comes from a budget control operated Friday by the team of Jan Jambon, the Flemish Minister-President.
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The cost of government measures taken in recent weeks to stem the crisis alone amounts to 2.5 billion euros, based on an assumption of prolonged confinement until May 3. To this is added a drop of one billion euros in revenue.
This calculation is still based on an estimate from a few weeks ago forecasting a 1% drop in GDP, where the most recent estimates see it fall by 8%, which would further increase the deficit.
The government just read the numbers. It is too early to speak of corrective measures. “When a society is under as much pressure as it is today, this is not the time to look at savings“, commented the Flemish Minister for Finance, Matthias Diependaele (N-VA), while reaffirming that the balanced budget remains the objective of the government. He calls for a resumption of economic activity as soon as possible, in the respect for people’s safety and health. “Everything must now be focused on people’s health, and soon also on economic recovery“added Minister-President Jan Jambon.
A second budget control is scheduled for September.
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