The Flemish government comes up with a budget agreement

The Flemish government comes up with a budget agreement

The Flemish government reached an agreement on the 2018 budget in the early hours of Sunday morning. The Minister-President Geert Bourgeois will give the Flemish Parliament a preview of the content during his annual September statement on Monday. The agreement is expected to include an alternative to the energy tax, which is better known as the Turteltaks. This tax of 100 euros per year, created to cover the cost of green certificates, was scrapped by the Constitutional Court. Just before the summer, Flemish Minister Bart Tommelein (Open Vld) said that…

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Belgian exports to Britain down to 2013 level

Belgian exports to Britain down to 2013 level

The value of Belgian exports to the United Kingdom, expressed in euros, has fallen to its September 2013 level after peaking in February at its highest level since January 2012, according to the latest monitoring report from Federal Directorate of the Economy, Planning Bureau and National Bank, quoted by Minister of the Economy, Kris Peeters. Uncertainty around the British exit from the European Union, Brexit, has already sparked a certain nervousness and has economic consequences, the Deputy Prime Minister, said. British Prime Minister Theresa May was scheduled to deliver a…

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A hard Brexit could cost Belgium over 42,000 jobs

A hard Brexit could cost Belgium over 42,000 jobs

A hard Brexit could cause the loss of 42,390 jobs in Belgium, 526,000 in the United Kingdom and 1.2 million in the entire European Union (EU), according to forecasts published on Thursday by economists of the Catholic University of Leuven. The economists, Hylke Vandenbussche, William Connell and Wouter Simons, compared the consequences of “hard” and “soft” Brexits for the labour market. In a “soft” scenario, there would still be no customs tariffs between Britain and the EU, but there would be non-tariff trade barriers, as in the case of a…

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EU-Canada Trade Agreement to enter into effect provisionally on Thursday

EU-Canada Trade Agreement to enter into effect provisionally on Thursday

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union (EU) and Canada, enters into effect provisionally on Thursday, close to a year after being signed by European leaders and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. However, one of its most disputed components, its dispute-resolution mechanism, will have to await ratification by all member States – and in some cases their regional parliaments – before it can become effective. CETA had been signed amid great pomp in Brussels on 30 October 2016 by the chairs of the European Commission, Jean-Claude…

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Belgium to double its investments in humanitarian innovation in 2018

Belgium to double its investments in humanitarian innovation in 2018

Belgium will double total investment in humanitarian innovation next year, bringing the amount to €20 million. This was announced on Monday evening by the Minister for Development Cooperation, Alexander De Croo, during a speech at the University of New York. Mr De Croo commented, “Every year, humanitarian needs increase, and humanitarian crises and conflicts take increasingly more victims. However, only one percent of actual humanitarian financial resources are allocated to humanitarian innovation and research. That has to change.” The minister’s intervention was part of Global Citizen Live, an event organised…

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Kickstart for project to better tax internet giants in the EU

Kickstart for project to better tax internet giants in the EU

A project to better tax internet giants, led by France, Spain, Italy and Germany, got a kick-start via a meeting between the EU Finance Ministers in Tallinn. It has been met with resistance by some members, including Ireland. Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – often grouped together under the acronym GAFA – are regularly accused of tax evasion through financial arrangements that reduce the amount of tax they pay. In this digital age, “the current tax system does not work, and that’s why we have to find another solution”, says…

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European Commission proposes non-binding screening of foreign investments

European Commission proposes non-binding screening of foreign investments

A new EU framework for screening foreign investments in EU member states was announced by Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker last week in his annual state of union speech. The new framework enables the Commission and member states to screen foreign direct investments on grounds of security or public order. Member states will still keep the last word in the screening. While restrictions to capital movements between member states and third countries are prohibited, concerns have been raised about foreign investors, notably state-owned enterprises, taking over European companies with key technologies…

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Austria opposes Juncker’s wish to expand euro zone

Austria opposes Juncker’s wish to expand euro zone

Austria’s leaders on Thursday expressed their opposition to the wish of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to see a maximum of European Union (EU) members join the euro zone, pointing to the Greek crisis as a precedent not to be repeated. “I think this concept is not thought through,” Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern (Social Democrats) said, stressing that Europe’s priorities should instead be fighting tax fraud and social dumping, and calling for strict respect for Maastricht’s criteria. “As long as all this has not been dealt with, it makes no…

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Belgian government neglects budgetary obligations

Belgian government neglects budgetary obligations

The federal government is not respecting the European budgetary requirements, De Tijd and Echo reported on Wednesday (13 September). According to the newspapers, the Michel government will not be able to improve its structural balance by 0.6% of GDP per year, the European Commission’s minimum requirement. Instead of reducing the structural balance by € 2.6 billion in structural measures, the government will only realize € 1.1 billion. The balance of € 1.5 billion will not qualify as “structural”, as these are essentially technical corrections, one-off receipts and a more favorable…

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Finance minister: “A public structure is urgently needed for the homeless in Brussels”

Finance minister: “A public structure is urgently needed for the homeless in Brussels”

The current crisis around Samusocial can only accelerate the process to improve the reception of homeless people, said Guy Vanhengel (Open VLD), Minister of Finance in Brussels-Capital Region government, on Monday (11 September) before the commission of inquiry about the management of the non-profit organization. Guy Vanhengel explained that he had terminated the pre-financing of the winter scheme for Samusocial via the social assistance body, Centre Public d´Action Social (CPAS), of the City of Brussels. According to Vanhengel, it was only in 2013 that it appeared that the CPAS pre-financed…

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