European Commission wants to start proceedings against Belgium over budget deficit

The European Commission wants to start proceedings against Belgium over its high budget deficit, it announced on Wednesday. The country will have to reduce its deficit by at least 0.5 percentage points each year.

The European Commission had already announced that it would open the excessive deficit procedure (EDP) for the first time in years against countries whose budget deficits are considered unsustainable. On Wednesday, it announced that Belgium is one of those countries.

Belgium had a deficit of 4.4 per cent at the end of 2023, and this is expected to rise to 4.7 per cent in 2025. According to the procedure, Belgium must reduce its deficit to below 3 per cent at a rate of at least 0.5 percentage points per year.

On Friday, the Commission will present a reference path for the recovery policy. This will also take into account public debt. Belgium's public debt stood at 105.2 per cent of GDP last year, while EU rules say the debt ratio should be put on a "plausible" path towards 60 per cent.

Budget proposal by autumn

On 16 July, European Finance ministers will give their opinion on the Commission's proposal. In the autumn, Belgium will have to present its draft budget for 2025 and a multi-annual plan for its budgetary, reform and investment policies covering a period of four to seven years.

In total, the Commission is opening proceedings against seven of its 27 member states: France, Italy, Malta, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. If these countries fail to reduce their deficits, the consequences could be severe, including EU budgetary surveillance and a fine of 0.05 per cent of GDP. The budget will be an important, if not the most important, issue in the formation of the Belgian federal government.



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Belgium's budget deficit could rise to 4.7% by 2025, warns European Commission
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