Following in the footsteps of Belgium
Posted on January 4, 2010 by Shay Greenberg for Luckyroom.com
The eurozone countries with debt that has soared to the heights can expect to have similar treating with the case of Belgium, which showed how fast can solve the problem but also underlines the dangers of a political “paralysis”. In recent years, no other member country of the Eurozone has not reduced the debt to an impressive degree from 134% of GDP in 1993 fell to 114% in 1999 and 84% in 2007; The success of Belgium is a good omen for many European countries which today are struggling to control their budget after the global financial crisis has reduced tax revenues and forced the government to implement costly policies to support the economy. Indeed, several countries can reduce their debt even if that is exceptional levels within a few years if pro-active, as shown by the case of Belgium. Some governments have already taken such measures: Ireland has decided to reduce the salaries of the public from 5% to 15% but however, the example of Belgium shows how quickly it can build up debt if countries lack the political unity to act.
The crisis in Belgium has its roots in the 1970s, when governments were fighting for the future of a bilingual country by supporting the troubled coal and steel, leaving the budget deficit to increase greatly. The government of Belgium began to improve dramatically in the mid-1990s by increasing taxes and reducing spending. The same progress could be noted in Greece, although the conditions differ from those of Belgium. The latter has a more diversified economy than the Greek, which relies greatly on agriculture, tourism and shipping. However, there are concerns that the New Year will herald the credit crunch in the Eurozone, as rising unemployment and weak growth in 2010 to more difficult projects of governments to increase tax revenues to repay part of their debt. The budget will be affected more by the aging population who will need expensive health care in the coming years.
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