Green party leader Björn Rzoska has changed his mind after reading the Flemish budget and the recovery plan. “This is mainly heated food.”
Immediately after the September statement that Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon (N-VA) made yesterday in the Flemish Parliament, Groen group leader Björn Rzoska still had a fairly good impression of the new course of the Flemish government.
But after reading the Centenbladje, in which Minister of Budget Matthias Diependaele (N-VA) summarizes next year’s budget, and after reading the recovery plan ‘Flemish resilience’, there is not much left of that.
‘The picture that the Flemish government wants to paint is that of a government that does not save, but invests,’ says Rozska. ‘Indeed, there are hardly any savings in the Centenbladje, but when I look at the investment plan, I mainly see big announcements with nothing behind it.’
What about the 4.3 billion in investments?
‘I have the impression that this is mainly an empty box at the moment. There is nothing in the 2021 budget to indicate that investments will be made from this recovery fund next year. What is included has long been decided: in the Flemish coalition agreement or the multi-year budget, and has been announced by various ministers. ‘
That 4.3 billion is real, right?
‘The Flemish government is very explicitly looking to Europe for this. The resources must mainly come from the Recovery Fund and the Brexit Fund. That attitude towards Europe remains twofold. On the one hand, the Flemish government is open to receiving European money, on the other it turns its nose up at the Green Deal, for example.
‘There is also little in the way of climate change, except for what had already been announced. For the rest, it is heated food, such as the Blue Deal for combating water scarcity. ‘
Is the effect yet to come?
‘I hope so, but why isn’t it in the Centenblad then? I had hoped that the Flemish government would press the reset button, but when I read this, I feel especially cheated, and many Flemish people with me. All the specialists say that the investments have to be made today. ‘
‘I don’t want to burn everything down. There are also good things in the plans: the focus on digitization, investments in education, innovation in hydrogen, … but there are other needs in society: care, poverty reduction. We hardly find anything back about that. ‘
Minister of Welfare Wouter Beke announces additional investments in healthcare, doesn’t it?
‘That was all in the pipeline. Steps are being taken in the right direction, but the Flemish government is not jumping any further, while there are still major needs, in home care, informal care, waiting lists, … I would have liked more attention to this. ‘
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