Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo and senior ministers met on the 2022 budget until about 7.45pm, and talks will continue tomorrow. At 12 noon, the parties involved will be back to work. The government summit has been meeting since 12 noon today.
“Everything is still on the table unless there is an agreement,” it was said in the negotiating camp on Saturday. Minister of State for Budget Eva de Bleecker (Open Vld) reiterated this in the afternoon on arrival at 16 Weststrat, saying: “All aspects are interconnected and should be discussed together.” Negotiators look systematically at files, after they have already been passed in the workgroup.
Saturday’s government summit schedule included labor market policy, dealing with long-term illness and investments. She says the biggest points of discussion were energy and the labor market.
The alliance agreement provides for an increase in the employment rate to 80 percent. The employment rate is currently only 70 percent, so there is still work to be done. Prime Minister de Croo put a note with 35 proposals on the table. This will include four days a week, in which the working hours normally performed in five days will be divided into four.
On energy, ministers are studying, among other things, what can be done to make rising energy costs more bearable for the population. There are many avenues on the table for this.
The talks are expected to continue on Saturday evening for some time and will continue on Sunday and early next week. In any case, the negotiators are not in a hurry. Finance Minister Vincent van Bettieghem (CD&V) confirmed this on Saturday morning: “The deadline is Tuesday at 2:30pm.” Prime Minister de Croo is expected to arrive in the House of Representatives due to his policy statement.
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