The Brussels budget for 2022 clocks in at a deficit of half a billion euros. A balance is only possible before 2024. ‘We want to have the budget in order for the state reform,’ says Brussels Minister of Finance Sven Gatz.
Last of all regions, Brussels also completed its 2022 budget on Wednesday. The regional government clocks in at a deficit of 536 million euros. That is a shortfall of the total revenue of 5 billion euros. By way of comparison: the Flemish budget of 50 billion will go into the red next year by 1.6 billion.
The government of Prime Minister Rudi Vervoort (PS) is making an effort to improve it by EUR 363 million next year. Brussels will postpone planned investments in mobility and housing to 2023, assuming a solid windfall in revenues. That overview of the budget with 140 million euros.
According to Finance and Budget Minister Sven Gatz (Open VLD), it is not harmful to postpone investments during an economic recovery. “It’s not a big brake, because it just happens a year later. With 1.3 billion euros invested per year, Brussels remains a very large public investor. That is proportionally more than the other regions.’
In addition, the government will save another 105 million euros. It is not clear where pruning will take place. Gatz is counting on the goodwill of fellow ministers. He instructed them to draw savings in their own administrations. If they do not, the Minister of Finance will cut the operating and personnel costs of the administrations. These account for a cost item of 1 billion euros.
In the background, this pruning would not have been necessary if Brussels were to introduce its slim kilometer charge as planned. Gatz originally counted on 250 million euros in income through the city toll, but had to remove it from the budget. The government is still waiting for a crucial advice from the Council of State that the introduction of the city toll in 2022 has become almost unfeasible.
The Brussels savings mean that the budget balance in 2024 is clear. That Gatz is a must, because from 2025 the transition mechanism from the Special Financing Act will disappear. As a result, the region would receive 10 million less annually.
Moreover, Gatz wants Brussels to be financially healthy when the talks about the seventh state reform begin. It is always difficult to negotiate when you are asking for more money. That is why we want to have our affairs in order before 2024′, he says. Nevertheless, Gatz indicated earlier in De Tijd that he hopes that Brussels will be refinanced during the next state reform.