• EM Power

Belgian federal government and states approve first draft of recovery plan

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

The Belgian federal government and the federal states have reached a political agreement on a first draft of the 'Plan voor Herstel en Veerkracht' (Plan for Recovery and Resilience) and the distribution of European subsidies between the different entities of the country. The agreement will be formally approved by a 'virtual' forming of the Overlegcomité / le Comité de concertation in the coming days.

Following the decision of the Overlegcomité / le Comité de concertation on 23 November 2020, the staatsecretaris for Relance en Strategische Investeringen, Thomas Dermine, issued a call for proposals (investment projects and reform proposals) from the governments of the country.

The proposals of the different governments were discussed between the cabinets of the federal government and the states in an unprecedented and intensive working process. Based on these discussions, a first draft of the 'Plan voor Herstel en Veerkracht' was prepared and approved by all parties concerned. It aims to accelerate investment in key challenges such as environmental transition, digitalisation, mobility, inclusion and productivity.

"This is an important step for our relaunch strategy. It shows that working together is possible in our country, and that this is how we can shape our country's future. The aim is to have a coherent plan that enables Belgium to tackle major challenges, such as the digital and environmental transition and social inclusion,"

said Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

"On this basis, we will be able to submit a first document to the European Commission in order to refine the outlines of the draft plan,"

continued State Secretary for Relance Thomas Dermine.

A logic of broad consultation, even outside government circles, characterised the working process. The social partners submitted own-initiative opinions through the Centrale Raad voor het Bedrijfsleven – CRB, as did the actors that make up the Federale Raad voor Duurzame Ontwikkeling – FRDO. But other civil society actors, including representatives of environmental and youth associations, were also keen to contribute.

Photo: © Overlegcomité / Comité de concertation 2021

On 11 January, the federal and state governments in Belgium also took a position on the allocation of the budgets to the different governments. As a reminder, the original sum of EUR 5.15 billion was increased to EUR 5.9 billion. The amount will probably be re-evaluated until 2023 depending on the evolution of the macroeconomic parameters.

"The final goal is a plan whose total estimated cost is close to the available budget (EUR 5.925 billion). By the final submission of the plan in April 2021, the priority projects should be selected and the quality and coherence of the plan should be strengthened,"

the staatsecretaris stressed.

"The deadline for submitting the recovery plan is the same for all member states. The deadline is the end of April 2020. In order to respect this timing, a first complete draft has to be submitted by the end of January. Thanks to today's agreement, Belgium should be able to meet this important European objective on time",

concludes Thomas Dermine.