Tax breaks for economic disaster zones and VAT a la carte

On Monday, the liberal ministers’ statements raised eyebrows on several members of the federal majority. In the press and on television the VLD notables requested a new economic recovery plan. The one adopted by the federal government was judged to be insufficient. The establishment of free zones, a lower VAT on electricity and new reductions in employment taxes are among the new measures proposed by the MR.

Joëlle Milquet thinks it’s all a bit nasty. “Let’s stop talking about a new recovery plan. The measures under discussion were planned a long time ago. We need to meet in early November to discuss it with the regions,” states the Social-Christian vice-premier.

The PS, which is claiming to have been the source of the recovery, had the same reaction. “We’ve been asking for months for the recovery measure. We even asked for some flexibility in the budget planning to give companies a break,” states vice-premier Laurette Onkelinx’ office. Now it’s time to act. The free zones should not be a problem. The VAT reduction on electricity might be more of an issue. The main party in opposition, the CD&V, is not against it on principle. “What we’d like to avoid regarding this, and any other measure, is imposing additional costs that might weigh down the budget in the future. We would also like to avoid seeing the government hastily adopt a measure that would subsequently be forbidden by the European Union.”

The Flemish Christians have been reassured on the last point. The Commission declared its “nihil obstat” (it finds no obstacle to these measures).

BERNARD DEMONTY

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