Municipal mergers already cost Flanders a quarter of a billion euros
The mergers that 26 Flemish municipalities have now agreed to are already costing Flanders a quarter of a billion euros, the newspapers De Standaard and Het Belang van Limburg reported on Friday.
Minister Bart Somers wants to reduce the number of Flemish municipalities from 300 to 100. A few years ago, the government promised to take over a large part of the debts of the merging municipalities - in principle, the more inhabitants a municipality has, the more debt Flanders takes over. This can amount to up to 50 million euros per municipality.
"The Flemish regional government will take over debts of 255 million euros from the 26 municipalities that will voluntarily merge into 12.
At this rate, it will take almost 100 years to reach 100 municipalities in Flanders. Local authorities are already reaching their limits"
In addition to the 26 that have already signed up to the proposal, merger negotiations are underway in several other places. But for Flemish minister of Home Affairs Bart Somers, things could go even faster. "At this rate, it will take almost 100 years to reach 100 municipalities in Flanders. Local authorities are already reaching their limits, while the challenges in terms of activation, safety, care or climate are becoming ever greater".
#FlandersNewsService | Flemish minister of Home Affairs Bart Somers © BELGA PHOTO JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE