What does the new coalition agreement say?

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Formateurs Paul Magnette (PS) and Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) have handed over their final report to the king. At all parties, members can now register for the member conferences, both physical and digital, tonight. But a final text of the coalition agreement is not yet available. The Sherpas of the Presidents are putting the finishing touches this morning. Yet much is already known about the content. An overview.

5.3 billion euros is going to new policy. One billion of this is intended for investment, and one billion goes to temporary measures. The health care budget will rise 2.5 percent annually above the index and the lowest benefits will go up. The investments will be made in the railways, in digitization and in strengthening security policy – including Defense. There is talk of 400 million for Justice and Security. The planned investments and the Strategic Vision would be maintained for Defense. When it comes to security, not everything costs money. For example, there would be a fast procedure for shoplifting to prevent recidivism.

Aiming for 1,500 euros

An important element in the agreement is the decision on pensions. By the end of the legislature, the seven parties want to raise up to 1,500 euros for a full career. This involves a budget of 1.3 billion (of the 5.3 billion in new policy). With the money from the wealth envelope (which is not included in that package), the pensions can count on two billion euros. From now on it will be necessary to have worked a minimum number of years before one can claim a minimum pension. Those who have not worked for a long time can therefore no longer receive the same pension as someone who has always worked.

The 1,500 euros is gross, not net for the time being. The invoice to make a net amount out of it would now weigh too much. However, a growth path is being plotted to reach EUR 1,500 net by 2030. The distinction between employees and the self-employed disappears for the new years worked.

Swedish heritage

As far as is known, the pension decisions of the Swedish government have not been affected. Among other things, this raised the retirement age to 67 years. The PS promised in the campaign to bring it back to 65 years, but, with three of the four Swedish parties in the government and the N-VA in the opposition, has not made a breaking point in the negotiations. Other Swedish legacies, such as the tax shift and the wage norm, also remain intact.

In order to stimulate entrepreneurship, the measure is extended whereby no social security contributions have to be paid on the recruitment of a first employee. In addition, the 6 percent VAT rate for demolition and reconstruction of a house will be extended to the entire Belgian territory. There will also be measures to ensure that those who work have more net savings. Childcare would become cheaper.

Long-term sick will be helped to find their way back to the labor market where possible. Working longer is made more attractive by the pension bonus and landing jobs. There will also be more flexibility on the labor market, including part-time and working from home.

Driver’s license with points

The so-called ‘price of love’, the financial loss that disabled people suffer when they start living together and their benefits fall, is decreasing.

Another notable measure is the introduction of a driver’s license with points for drivers who repeatedly commit serious traffic offenses. Outgoing Mobility Minister François Bellot (MR) had already investigated such a system before, but it was eventually disposed of. Company cars must also be emission-free by 2026.

Another new feature is that birth leave will be doubled. Instead of 10 days, new parents are now entitled to 20 days. In the field of migration, work is being done on ‘a humane and correct policy’. That implies a more efficient return policy and a response to transmigration. The parties also agreed that children should never be locked up again.

By 2024, a new state reform is being prepared by two ministers. A year later, in 2025, the nuclear exit should be a fact. By 2030, the government wants to reduce carbon emissions by 55 percent, by 2050 our country must be climate neutral. In the more ‘green’ part of the agreement, economy and ecology are reconciled by focusing on innovation in renewable energy.

On the revenue side, it was already clear that there will be a tax for the Gafa internet giants Google, Amazon, Facebook and Ali Baba. There would also be a minimum tax for companies. Lachaert says the share of new taxes is ‘minimal’. “We now have to focus for one or two years on the recovery and fighting the crisis.”





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