Spending cuts don't go far enough, says Unizo

Summary

Unizo director Karel Van Eetvelt poses the opposite view of critics this week, saying that Flanders’ budget cuts don’t go far enough

“These economies are essential”

The Flemish government’s spending cuts, soundly criticised by the opposition and cultural organisations this week, are urgently needed, according to Karel Van Eetvelt (pictured), director-general of Unizo, the organisation that represents the self-employed in Flanders. In fact, they don’t go far enough, he said.

“There is no alternative,” he told VRT radio. “Flanders was heading for the rocks. We cannot afford to spend more money we don't have, in the hope that we might create growth. That's what we read in the governing accord.”

Governments in the past have avoided making the severe cuts that were required, he argued, with the result that everyone has to share the sacrifice now. “These economies are absolutely essential. The criticism now is coming from the people who brought us to this point.”

Minister-president Geert Bourgeois has faced strong criticism in parliament since announcing the measures early this week, mainly from socialists who until recently sat in the Flemish government coalition and who still form part of the interim federal government.

Van Eetvelt did, however, regret that there was no attention paid in the declaration to reduce the cost of doing business. “Salary costs are just too high,” he said. “The government could have gone further. I'll be expecting an effort from the federal government as well, to create more growth. In that way we can strengthen social security and education and create jobs. But only if we prune intelligently. Without pruning, there can be no sustainable growth.”

photo courtesy Unizo

Unizo

The Organisation for the Self-Employed and SMEs (Unizo) represents and defends the interests of self-employed entrepreneurs, freelancers and small and medium-sized businesses in Flanders and Brussels.
Name change - Until 2000, Unizo was known as the Nationaal Christelijk Middenstandsverbond (National Christian SME Association).
Customer Day - “Dag van de Klant” is a time-honoured Unizo tradition celebrating the bonds between small businesses and their customers. Customers typically get a token of appreciation from shops on the day, like chocolates or flowers.
Staff - The majority of Unizo members (70%) employ between zero to four people.
120

affiliated sector organisations

276

local entrepreneurs’ associations

85

members