Both Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open Vld) and Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon (N-VA) promise short-term measures against the high energy bill. Jambon announced measures for companies on Monday at a meeting of the Flemish employers’ organization Voka. Prime Minister De Croo announced measures in ‘The Big Money Debate’ by VTM NIEUWS and made it clear “that no one will be without gas or electricity”.
Those measures will be taken “the next day”, according to Prime Minister De Croo. “I can be specific about the objective: there will not be people who have to worry about what happens if they can’t pay their bill. We’re going to make sure those people don’t run out of electricity. That they should not ask themselves whether they should turn off their heating. They will be measures that are targeted, but that are broader than the social rate as we have it in our country today.’
“We are going to take measures”, also promised Jan Jambon. “They are coming. We are talking about days here, not months,” said Jambon on the Voka Rentée, the kick-off of the new political year by the Flemish employers’ organization Voka.
There is grumbling from the employers’ world because the Flemish government is waiting with support measures for companies that are suffering heavily from the energy crisis. “Every day counts, don’t wait for the September statement,” Voka chairman Wouter De Geest called on the Flemish government on Monday.
So those measures will be taken, Jambon assured. At the same time, he pointed to the budgetary context. “We are going to take targeted measures that will not ruin the national economy.”
No “bazooka” like in the corona crisis
Also in a debate between party chairmen, N-VA chairman Bart De Wever hammered on the limited budgetary space available. “We are not the Netherlands, we are not Germany. We are not in the luxury position of other countries.” The N-VA top man therefore advocated working with a cible. “We are not going to make Flanders a second Belgium”.
CD&V chairman Sammy Mahdi also thinks so. “Bringing out the big bazooka of the corona crisis is no longer of this time. We have to make targeted and temporary investments in companies that are having a hard time with the high energy costs.” At the same time, he warned against delays. ‘We have to invest in companies now, or we will end up as sjakkamakka,’ he said.
Role of Europe
The same sound could be heard from Open VLD chairman Egbert Lachaert. “Waiting for the September statement, that is not possible. We must act now.” At the same time, he pointed to the decisive role that Europe must play. “The final solution must come from Europe.” Groen chairman Jeremie Vaneeckhout also insisted on this. “Europe must decide within ten days!”
In addition to the energy crisis, companies are also faced with derailing wage costs. Letting go of automatic indexing is, however, out of the question for Vooruit, stressed party leader Melissa Depraetere. PVDA chairman Raoul Hedebouw argued – in line with what the trade unions are asking – for freedom of negotiation. N-VA chairman De Wever countered. “It is not both automatic indexing and free consultation.” De Wever, on the other hand, did propose to give the employees the net indexation and to index the tax scales. Open VLD chairman Lachaert only partially followed him. “A net indexation is negotiable.” Vlaams Belang chairman Tom Van Grieken, on the other hand, advocated raising the tax-free sum.
In any case, a recession is imminent, warned Voka chairman De Geest. “It is a rock-hard awakening at this rentée. We are facing a recession. It will cut and hit us all.” N-VA chairman De Wever agreed. “It looks bad this winter.”
European gas price rises due to Nord Stream 1 . remaining closed
Companies request government support for energy costs
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