Recipes for a Belgian government of action - Economic Policy

Recipes for a Belgian government of action – Economic Policy

There is no more time to lose. This deadline is crucial for the future of the country. But also and above all to initiate reforms by then that make it possible.

No major tax reform under this legislature (says the PS). The ambitious pension reform is slow (according to the Open Vld). The energy future is neglected (the MR often gets impatient). No state reform in 2024 (the PS repeats). Don’t throw any more! The federal Vivaldi finds itself facing its destiny this summer. Of course, the government of Alexander De Croo has kept our country on its feet during the pandemic and is facing a major geopolitical/energy crisis. But he gets stuck on structural reforms, at the risk of generating a legislature of immobility. Five ingredients are missing today to mark its time.

No major tax reform under this legislature (says the PS). The ambitious pension reform is slow (according to the Open Vld). The energy future is neglected (the MR often gets impatient). No state reform in 2024 (the PS repeats). Don’t throw any more! The federal Vivaldi finds itself facing its destiny this summer. Of course, the government of Alexander De Croo has kept our country on its feet during the pandemic and is facing a major geopolitical/energy crisis. But he gets stuck on structural reforms, at the risk of generating a legislature of immobility. Five ingredients are missing today to mark its time. A long-term vision. Vivaldi makes no secret of its desire to complete the Belgium ship towards its 200th anniversary, in 2030. Many projects incorporate this horizon, for example the 80% employment rate, the “rail” plan or the investments of the Defense at 2% of GDP. But paradoxically, the impression prevails that the government is unable to overcome, during this legislature, the paralyzing pitfall of 2024. We postpone, for lack of means or clear choices. However, it is only by projecting the Belgians into the future that we can enchant their present. Overriding partisan interests. The PS version Paul Magnette is abused by the radical left and carries a “defensive” project: not to unravel the social. The MR Georges-Louis Bouchez version is provocative: undoubtedly the most liberal of the coalition, he behaves more like a spur. Ecolo legitimately insists on the climate but is afraid of repeating errors that have cost it dearly in the past (Francorchamps, ecotaxes, etc.) and too often joins the “wokist” excesses. And where everyone’s visions should come together, they tend to irritate or deny each other. Unwavering courage, beyond crises. Dare to be unpopular. Exceed base expectations. Stay the course at all costs. Maintain a truthful discourse by affirming that pensions must be reformed to ensure their future. Limit our consumption to save the planet. Trust in the economy to guarantee prosperity. Becoming the bearer of a courage mixed with red, green and blue: this is the expected mutation of Alexander De Croo to transform himself into a Dehaene 2.0, this boor who dared to reform, especially in the face of headwinds. Controlled communication. Speaking of Dehaene, there was a time when negotiators were locked up in a castle, in Val Duchesse, to avoid leaks and compromise agreements. It’s time for social networks and arm wrestling between parties. Never has it been so difficult to do politics or to make it legible, that’s clear. But wouldn’t a professionalization of communication be wise? Similarly, is it serious that for admittedly painful reasons (the illness of Sophie Wilm├Ęs’ husband), Alexander De Croo combines “the Sixteen” with Foreign Affairs? A spokesperson to sell the Vivaldi, a priority. Management of electoral deadlines. Finally, how not to lose sight of 2024, the new “mother of all elections”, when we count ourselves against the duo N-VA / Vlaams Belang in the North and against the PTB in the South? The federal government should have made its mark on the country at the start of the legislature, taking advantage of its initial momentum. The pandemic prevented it, but also the quarrels of all kinds. There is no more time to lose. This deadline is crucial for the future of the country. But also and above all to initiate reforms by then that make it possible.

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