Bid for banks to aid Belgian budget deficit

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The government parties agree that the banks should be asked for a contribution to help pick up the slack in the budget. PM Herman Van Rompuy also agrees that this would be a fair arrangement.

In an interview PM Herman Van Rompuy said that he was definitely in favour of asking the banks to make an effort to help keep the budget deficit down. "Everyone has to make a contribution, the financial institutions included, though of course we do not intend to cripple them financially."

Vice PM and Budget Minister Guy Vanhengel talks about ‘bank solidarity’. "The tax payers were asked to have solidarity with the banks at the end of last year. It is not abnormal that now the government finances are coming under pressure that we in turn ask for the same solidarity from a number of sectors that benefitted and are now recovering."

The Flemish Christian democrats think that the banks should pay a 'reasonable' amount, but they should not be straitjacketed so soon after the crisis. The government do not want to quickly reverse the effects of the bail-out. 

Yesterday Francophone socialist party vice PM Laurette Onkelinx said that the banks must contribute to the budget. According to her the big financial crisis was largely due to the banks themselves. Rather than having to make cuts in social services or benefits, she believes that it is now appropriate for the banks to step in and keep the budget deficit down, now that many of them are again making profits.

Most of the government parties think that the electricity sector should also make a contribution if they want the nuclear power stations to stay open longer than the planned closure.

The bank bonus system has also come under fire, a matter that will be discussed in the G20 summit in the United States later this month


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