November 29, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

Complete News World

Where will the billion of new investments go?

Tens of millions will flock to digitize police, fight cybercrime and detention centers in the coming years. But the biggest winner in the De Croo government’s investment plan is the railway, which will receive a quarter of the billion released.

The word investment appeared more or less 17 times in Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo’s (Open VLD) policy statement on Tuesday. During a budget meeting last weekend, his government decided to invest an additional €1 billion over the next three years, among other things, in railways, digitalization and the climate. The package comes in addition to the 1.25 billion euros in federal investments made through the European Recovery Plan.

At first, the majority parties put wish lists of more than 3 billion euros of investments on the table, but the Liberals and CD&V didn’t like it. The investments are one-time measures and do not need to be included in the budget framework, but they add to the already high Belgian debt.

the essence

  • During the budget consultation, de Croo’s government allocated new investments of 1 billion euros.
  • Most of the money goes to railways, digitization, and cybersecurity.
  • As a result of this package and the European Investment Plan, Belgian investment should exceed 3 per cent of GDP for the first time in a long time.
  • Secretary of State for Relations Thomas Dermin talks about a historic turning point.

The budget agreement includes 29 investments, according to the list de Tjed has been able to see. biggest recipient Railroad, which will be allocated in the amount of 250 million euros. 181 million euros will be allocated to expanding the transport of goods, which will lead to companies using trucks more often to transport goods. “Obviously, this government is choosing more trains and fewer trucks,” said Mobility Minister George Gilkennett (Ekolo).

Brussels – Luxembourg Railway

42 million euros will be earmarked for improvements to the line between Brussels and Luxembourg. The train journey between the two cities now takes 3 hours and 18 minutes, a long journey of 217 kilometers. With a car, if traffic jams don’t throw a wrench in the works, it can easily go an hour faster. 27 million euros will be allocated to facilitate access to the stations. Apart from the investment plan, the government is also allocating another 2 million people annually to support the night trains. The price of driving on the rail at night is reduced to carry passengers.

The second major investment arena is Government digitization. 190 million euros have been allocated for this. 79 million euros will go to iPolice, the project to digitize police services. 58 million euros will be invested in preparing communications for the future. The money also goes to digital customs (40 million), digitization of pensions (8 million) and social security for self-employed (5 million).

Another priority cyber security, for which 155 million euros will be provided. The amount will be divided between defense (73 million euros), electronic health (64 million euros) and foreign affairs (18 million euros). Foreign affairs, among other things, have already been hacked into the past. In the coming years, the Ministry of Defense wants to develop the cybersecurity component itself, which should stand on the side of the land, sea and air forces. In the long run, 300 people will have to work there, compared to 100 people today.

detention centers

Security, but not online, is also building a chain detention centers. If it depends on Justice Minister Vincent van Quekenborn (Open VLD), prison sentences of less than three years will also be carried out from 1 December. Now these convicts are given an ankle bracelet. Instead, they are not taken to prison, but have to serve their sentences in a detention center, where the system is less strict, but where there is a lot of guidance. Existing infrastructure such as old residential care centers or barracks is being transformed. 92 million euros have been allocated for this.

Expand tax shelter for beginners and farmers

Linked to €1 billion in investments, De Croo’s government is also launching a series of reforms that should encourage private investors to pump more money into the economy. The tax shelter system for beginners and farmers will be strengthened. Anyone who invests in start-ups or developing companies can deduct these investments from taxes. The ceilings on the amounts companies can raise in this way are doubled.

There are other reforms on the agenda to improve the performance of our economy. These include a more modern framework for intellectual professions, the promotion of a circular economy and an action plan to encourage small and medium-sized businesses to take up public procurement.

to me Renewal of government assets 150 million euros, with a focus on making buildings energy efficient. In the run-up to budget discussions, State Secretary of the Buildings Agency Matteo Michel (MR) Make a plan for this. He believes that 5 billion euros of investment will be needed over the next 10 years to build the entire portfolio. So with the 150 million, only a small part of the road can be covered.

Finally, another 50 million euros will go to Investments in science policy, 34 million for specific climate measures and 79 million for smaller investments that are difficult to index, such as a health care quality control system and setting up a virus bank.

spread of investments

One billion euros of investment will be spread over three years. Next year it will be 200 million euros, 350 million in 2023 and 450 million in 2024. It should help raise the level of public investment in our country. According to the latest figures from Rich Nations, a think-tank of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, all Belgian governments together invest 2.63 percent of GDP. The average European country invests just over 3 per cent.

Public investment has fallen sharply over the years, because it has been easy for cost-saving governments to cut it. Secretary of State for Relations Thomas Dermin spoke of a historic turning point on Tuesday. According to his forecast, Belgian governments will invest 3.5% of GDP in 2024. He does not want to comment on concrete measures until Friday when he will officially present the investment plan.

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