De Croo presents plan to put Belgium at top of digital innovation

Summary

Federal minister of the digital agenda, Alexander De Croo, and his Digital Minds for Belgium advisory board, have announced their action plans for the next five years, which includes the development of 1,000 new start-ups and more digital friendly legislation

Digital Belgium

In five years’ time, Belgium should be in the absolute top position in Europe in the area of digital development, according to a new action plan called Digital Belgium.

The plan was launched this week by Alexander De Croo, minister of telecommunications and the digital agenda, and his group of high-level ICT experts that make up the advisory board Digital Minds for Belgium (pictured).

One of the plans most ambitious goals is to develop 1,000 new start-ups and 50,000 new jobs by 2020. De Croo has also set a goal of making internet of 1Gb per second the standard by 2020. Belgium should also be a frontrunner in the development of 5G mobile internet and closing the digital gap in society, he said.

Legislation, said De Croo has to be more “digital friendly” in future and it should be possible to deliver all government communications digitally by 2020. Within two years, all suppliers to the government will be obliged to send digital invoices.

New measures against illegal downloading are also part of the plan, as are cyber safety, internet privacy and competition in post and telecom markets. A tax shelter, lower labour costs and fiscal incentives for crowdfunding should stimulate the development of start-up companies in the digital sector, he continued. The regulation around night work for web shops will be adjusted. 

Belgian government

Belgium is a federal state made up of three regions and three communities, based on language (Dutch, French and German). The federal level is responsible for issues such as justice, defence, finances and foreign affairs – matters that affect the entire country. Belgium is also a constitutional monarchy.
Regions - The regions are comparable to American states or German Länder. They are geographical entities, responsible for matters related to their territory, such as public works, environment and economy. Belgium’s three regions are the Flemish Region, the Brussels-Capital Region and the Walloon Region.
Communities - Communities are responsible for matters that directly affect residents, such as education, welfare and culture. Belgium’s three communities are the Flemish Community, the French Community and the German Community.
Flanders - Although regions and communities do not overlap exactly, the Flemish Region and the Flemish Community have merged into the Flemish government. Its official language is Dutch. The Flemish Parliament sits in Brussels, which is the official capital city of Flanders (as well as Belgium).
11

population of Belgium in millions of people, with 6.2 million living in Flanders.

6

number of state reforms that have resulted in the federal system as it is today.

4

number of years for which the federal House of Representatives and the Senate are elected.