Belgium Press Review: 5 November 2008
Highlights of the latest news in the Belgian press....
The "crisis" at the heart of Wallonian parliament debate
Le Soir Onlione, Tuesday 4 November
The crisis, in banking and economy in general, was again at the heart of debates in the Wallonian parliament on Tuesday. Topics ranging from Ethias (the insurance company which got into serious difficulty) to the economy in the region were brought up by parliamentarians.
Not wanting to go back over the reasons for the crisis and dysfunction that hit Ethias, Minister Marcourt said: “We all have a role to play. And we are going to do everything to maintain the cooperative nature of our society and its frame of mind”, adding that locally implications will affect the region for 3 years.
Crisis hits labour market, first raise of male unemployment
De Standaard /Vlaams-Brabant/Brussel ; Tuesday 04 November 2008 ; p.26
First there was the financial crisis, which brought down banks worldwide and reduced the stock value of companies. Then came the wide ranging economic crisis that caused a wave of restructuring (and closing down) of companies. And now, much sooner than expected, the economic collapse manifests itself in rising unemployment figures, especially where it concerns men. At the end of October the VDAB (Flemish employment office) counted 1.3 % more unemployed male workers than a year ago.
Fortis and Dexia must pay for Kaupthing in Luxemburg
De Standaard /Vlaams-Brabant/Brussel; Tuesday 04 November 2008; p.21
The AGDL (Association for the Guarantee of Deposits) is seeking a total of EUR 320 million in Luxemburg. The AGDL protects savers against catastrophes such as bankruptcies in banks. Unlike Belgium, Luxemburg does not have a protection fund, and on many occasions has had to go looking for money to protect investors. At the moment savers in the three Icelandic banks, Kaupthing Bank, Glitnir Bank and Landsbanki Bank in particular are in need help.
But Belgian savers in Kaupthing Bank will not automatically see their savings returned to them when the bank is managed by curators and accounts are frozen by the government. The AGDL will pay out interest until 9 October and savings up to EUR 20,000. For the rest of the money the savers will have to approach the curators.
Leterme is short of EUR 5 billion for the 2009 budget
De Tijd; Tuesday 04 November 2008; p.1
Contrary to what Prime Minister Leterme claims, the Belgian government’s budget will not be balanced in 2009. The deficit has grown to 1.4 pct of the gross domestic product - or EUR 5 billion - as indicated by the economic forecast of the European Commission. EC experts have taken into account the results of the last budget conclave, although they criticised the way in which the government has calculated the budget. The government departed from a 1.2 pct economic growth instead of the 0.1 pct forecasted by the Commission.