Flemish public debt expected to rise to €45 billion next year

The public debt of the Belgian region of Flanders will rise to a total of 45 billion euros next year, according to a multi-year estimate shared in parliament by Flemish finance minister Matthias Diependaele (N-VA, Flemish nationalists) on Tuesday.

The government of Flanders previously assumed it would not reach 45 billion euros of debt until the end of its legislature in 2024, but that point may now be reached a year earlier. As a result, Flanders' debt will amount to 74.23 per cent of revenues next year. 

According to the budget approved last month, deficits will be recorded until 2026. In that year, the deficit would still amount to €200 million. A surplus of 250 to 300 million will only be recorded in 2027.

Flemish MP Maurits Vande Reyde (Open VLD) called the debt figures worrying on Tuesday. "The debt increase is a serious problem in Flanders as well after two major crises," he said. Vande Reyde believes the seriousness of the debt problem has not yet sufficiently sunk in. "There is a path towards balance, but that will not be enough to make the budget structurally sound. Flanders continues to spend too generously."

Diependaele's office nuanced the projection. "We have taken 1 billion euros worth of crisis measures, so it was to be expected that the debt would rise," the minister's office says. "But the figure of 45 billion euros is a projection that will probably turn out to be lower."



#FlandersNewsService | Flemish Minister of Finance, Budget and Housing Matthias Diependaele © BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ

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