Flanders’ contribution to Wallonia remains stable

Summary

The transfer of funds between regions sees Flanders’ contribution to Wallonia holding steady at about €7 a year

First study released

The Flemish region’s transfers to Wallonia have remained stable at about €7 billion a year, according to a study by the University of Leuven commissioned by Flemish minister-president Geert Bourgeois. Transfers are tax and social security funds that flow from one region to another.

When the salaries of civil servants are taken into account, the researchers see a downward trend in net contributions from Flanders, from €7.1 billion in 2014 to an estimated €6.6 billion in 2020.

The main sources of the transfers are taxation (€5 billion) and social security (€2 billion). Each household in Flanders pays an average €2,590 a year in taxes to cover the transfers. Brussels contribution is about €1,800 per family.

There are various reasons for the difference in the amount of the transfers. Flanders’ population is ageing faster than those of Wallonia and Brussels and receives more in pension payments. In Brussels, the evolution is in the opposite direction, with the population becoming proportionately younger.

In addition, the last round of state reforms in 2014 saw part of the revenue from income tax turned over to the regions, which also contributes to a reduction in transfers. Flanders, said Bourgeois (pictured), can do nothing about the size of the transfers, but the subject “could possibly be a theme at the next elections”.

“The temptation is also to imagine what we might be able to do with an extra €6.5 billion, in areas like welfare, mobility, research and development,” he said.

Photo courtesy N-VA

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.