Belgium will end its 2023 budget with a deficit $6.5 billion smaller than expected when it was prepared. This is mainly due to strong economic growth, writes De Jedd today based on provisional figures from the Federal Government Policy and Support Service (BOSA).
The federal government ended the year with a deficit of 3.3 percent of GDP and states and municipalities with a deficit of 1.3 percent of GDP. Together, this represents 4.6% of GDP or €26.7 billion.
This result is less bad than expected. Compared to the October 2023 estimate, this represents an improvement of €3.4 billion. In particular, primary federal spending (excluding interest charges) fell sharply, by around €1.3 billion, because the social energy tariff became less expensive, among other things, as were the costs of supporting households using oil heating.
Compared to the initial preparation of the 2023 budget, the improvement amounts to 6.5 billion euros, a deviation mainly related to the economic growth of our country. This is not without importance, because the government and Parliament at that time were concerned with the issue of whether the deficit would reach 5.8 or 6.1 percent of GDP. That discussion led to the resignation of Eva De Bleecker (Open Vld) as Secretary of State for the Budget.
He added: “Although we had to address one crisis after another during this legislative period, we made an effort of 11 billion euros. And this without affecting the middle class,” De Bleecker's successor Alexia Bertrand (Open Vld) answered in an interview.
The bad news is that despite above-average growth, Belgium still managed to increase its budget deficit compared to 2022, when a negative balance of 3.5 percent of GDP was recorded.
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