It was a Wouter De Geest somewhat annoyed by the political games of the past few days that received us in the premises of Voka in Brussels. The boss of the Flemish bosses gets impatient and punches his fist on the big table, repeating that “it can’t go on like this!” ” Given the economic disaster caused by the coronavirus, he wants a recovery plan for growth, and as soon as possible. He speaks of a national pact as after the Second World War, a priori with the PS and the N-VA. Otherwise, he will never say it is cash, but Flanders, which is already working, has another scenario in mind for its future and it is rather individualistic…
How have you lived in the past three months?
The economy was not doing very well before the Corona. The virus has been added to it with unprecedented brutality that has hit all businesses, with differences across sectors. But overall, the decline in turnover has fluctuated between 20 and 30%. In Flanders, we have seen that companies have adapted very quickly and this agility is encouraging for the future. The other good news is that many sectors have been able to continue operating, such as ports, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and the food industry. This helped mitigate the damage a bit.
You are not a catastrophist.
Economically, it is a disaster. It’s the biggest economic crisis since World War II. We must seize the opportunity to create a pact, which does not only concern the economy in a spirit of growth. Stillness is no longer possible. I’m calling everyone, businesses, citizens, social organizations, the cultural sector: stand up and lead us into the future! And that does not mean distributing, but creating to increase well-being, GDP per capita, and improve our social problems.