mer12oct201612h-14h30Stanhope Hotel, Rue du Commerce 9, Brussels 1000.
Belgium: Reforms for Growth?
The Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies and CEDER cordially invite you to a Food for Thought Country Series event entitled ‘Belgium: Reforms for Growth?’ Events in 2016 – from the March 22nd attacks to ongoing disruptions across the public sector – have underlined the fragility of Belgium’s economic prospects. With economic growth not predicted to exceed 1.6% up to 2017, a debt to GDP ratio in excess of 100% and established labor market challenges (low activity rates for certain subgroups) Belgium remains susceptible to further external economic shocks.
The current Federal Government took several reforms – such as wage moderation, the temporary suspension of automatic wage indexation and the tax shift, combined with labor market and pension reforms. The regional governments are seeking to improve the business climate, promote research and development, protect educational attainment levels and strengthen regional level employment performance. Are these reforms sufficient to strengthen the competitiveness of the Belgian economy?
This event will focus on 3 areas which provide opportunities for fundamental reform in the coming years. First, the need for further fiscal reform, particularly relating to reducing the tax burden, widening the tax base and ensuring fairness. Second, the requirement for continuing initiatives in the labor market and the social security system. Third, this event will address the issue of persistent low growth (i.e. secular stagnation) and ask the question, can we return to higher levels of growth in the Belgian economy?
- 12:00-13:00 Registration and Light Lunch
- 13:00-13:05 Welcome by Antoine de Borman, Director, CEPESS.
- 13:05-14:00 Panel Discussion moderated by Dr. Eoin Drea, Research Officer, Martens Centre.
Tom Vandenkendelaere MEP, CD&V, EPP.
Prof. Koen Schoors, Department of General Economics, University of Ghent.
Javier Yaniz Igal, Deputy Head of Unit G1- France, Belgium, and Luxembourg, DG ECFIN, European Commission.
- 14:00-14:20 Q&A
- 14:20-14:30 Conclusions by Benjamin Dalle, Director, CEDER