Crisis only had a moderate social impact in Belgium
Contrary to other European countries, the social impact of the economic crisis in Belgium remained quite modest.
At the same time, the gap between rich and poor has widened in most other European countries. That's according to a report in De Morgen, citing research done by Antwerp University.
Researcher Ive Marx explains this by the fact that Belgium is strongly linked to the solid German economy, and because the social security system in Belgium is well-organised. He cites our labour market, minimum wages, the health care system and unemployment policies.
Ironically, the seemingly endless political crisis, when Belgium was without a federal government for 1.5 years, may also have helped. This is because severe cuts couldn't be made without a government.
Oxford University Press is to publish the studies "Changing inequalities & societal impacts in rich countries" and "Changing inequalities in rich countries, analytical and comparative perspectives". These show that the profound economic crisis had a devastating impact on social systems in many countries, but not in Belgium.
In fact, the social gap in Belgium is the same now as before the crisis started. This is contrary to countries like Italy, where extreme poverty figures have doubled. In Britain, the number of people applying for food aid saw a dramatic increase, while in Greece the health care system collapsed. This allows illnesses like the plague or malaria to re-emerge.
However, it's not all good news for Belgium. The gap between immigrants and Belgians is widening, while it was getting smaller before the crisis.
[Flandersnews.be / Expatica]