The Monitoring Committee sees the federal government’s budget deficit rising to 23 billion euros next year. That is three billion euros more than was expected in July.
The Monitoring Committee – a group of top civil servants – once again confronts the De Croo government with the facts. The margin to spend extra money is completely gone. If policy remains unchanged, the federal government will face a budget deficit of 23.14 billion euros or 4 percent of gross domestic product. This is apparent from the preliminary report of the Monitoring Committee, which the top officials are once again considering this afternoon to get the last points and commas correct. The figure may therefore change slightly.
That figure already takes into account the new energy measures announced by the De Croo government last week. It carries a price tag of approximately one billion euros. In a first report in July, the Monitoring Committee estimated the deficit in the federal government at 20 billion euros. For this year, the Monitoring Committee estimates the deficit at 19.6 billion euros.
• Budget is completely derailed: next year deficit of 31.5 billion euros
That 23 billion euros is only the deficit of the federal government. In addition, the deficit of the regions and local authorities must be added to arrive at the total Belgian deficit. The Monitoring Committee does not provide a new figure on this. Rough figures from the Planning Bureau of two weeks ago already showed that the global Belgian deficit is about 31.5 billion euros.
So the Croo & co know what to do in the coming weeks. The Monitoring Committee’s report is traditionally the starting point for federal budget discussions for next year. The government has agreed to make an annual effort of 0.2 percent of GDP – just under a billion euros. On top of that, an extra effort can be made, depending on economic growth. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) already has the ambition to put together the budget for 2023 and 2024. Experience shows that it is very difficult to make a serious budget just before an election year.