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Social security costs spiral upwards

Published on 24/08/2004

24 August 2004

BRUSSELS – The deficit for Belgium’s social security budget could reach EUR 1 billion by 2005, it was reported on Tuesday.

The provisional figures calculated by the social security management committee were published by daily Flemish newspaper De Tijd, and will be refined over the coming weeks.

The committee has predicted a four percent rise in costs compared to 2004 figures, largely attributed to health insurance and pensions.

In 2004, the deficit was suppressed by one and a half billion euro in aid from the federal government.

But even with similar efforts next year, the deficit is still forecast to reach EUR 1 billion, which would spell bad news for the government.

At the end of July, the government’s Finance Council issued figures charted the ageing of the population and the subsequent burden on national finances.

This was estimated at EUR three billion between 2005 and 2007, with the rise in pensions and healthcare.

This cost burden will only be able to be financed if it goes hand in hand with more active employment policies, said the Council.

This would mean raising the level of activity and keeping more people over 55 in employment.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news