Belgian PM facing titanic task in the face of budget deficit

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The government has yet to decide the pace of changes required to slash a whopping 15 billion euros shortfall.

The Belgian Premier Herman Van Rompuy (Flemish Christian Democrat) says he is not surprised by the dire economic forecasts from the High Finance Council (HFC). Van Rompuy says that slashing a budget deficit of 15 billion euros will be a titanic job.

The Belgian Premier says he intends to face up to the challenge when the 2010 budget is drawn up as agreed in the government accord.

The government will start to draft the 2010 budget in the autumn and will have to decide how fast to proceed. The Belgian Premier is aware that if cuts are too hefty it could impact on economic growth.

The government also has to decide whether to raise taxes or cut spending.

It also has to agree when the Belgian budget should be balanced. An early objective could be 2013, but a later date of 2019 is also being suggested.

Decisions are only expected after the regional elections in June.

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