The Wallonia Region’s 2018 budget reflects a strong continuity between the choices of the current MR-cdH Government and those of its predecessor, the head of the Ecolo Party in the Walloon parliament, Stephane Hazée, said on Monday, one day after the end of budget deliberations on Sunday.
“This is particularly striking on ecological issues, where an absence of real investment and commitments can be observed,” Hazée said in a commission of the Walloon parliament. “That’s also the case when one sees that the Government is tightening the screws on public bodies and is curbing commitments in the public services.”
He recalled that the MR-cdH (reformist Movement – Humanist Democratic Centre) government had reduced the budget of public interest bodies by 10% over three years (2015-2017), with a few exceptions, and had put a freeze on the replacement of public servants who leave office.
The Government of Prime Minister Willy Borsus plans to use the financial reserves of public bodies to support its policies, which Hazee deplored. “We’ve been saying for years that they must be used to invest, but here, apparently, they will go towards plugging holes or financing current expenditure,” said the ecologist.
On the issue of fiscal reform, he welcomed the scrapping of the television tax, but wondered whether it made sense favouring proprietors who acquire a third home.
He also noted that when it was in the opposition, the MR had always called on the then ruling Socialist Party-cdH majority to speed up efforts to balance the budget. “Today, on the contrary, the party that was ready to break the sound barrier has rediscovered the benefits of walking, and that’s rather good news,” he said.
Ecolo also said it was mistrustful of the fact that the Government had remained vague on the details of its budget.