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A new direction for Wallonia

The political impasse in Wallonia has ended, following intense coalition talks between MR and cdH, which resulted in the formation of a new regional government on July 28. Led by new Minister-President Willy Borsus (MR), the government will focus on good governance and fiscal health, with the aim of stimulating business confidence and economic development in Wallonia.

The MR-cdH coalition has agreed on a series of measures to increase transparency and cost-efficiency in the public administration, and they have less than two years to deliver results, before the next regional elections in 2019.

Alongside the Minister-President, MR delivers three other ministers: Pierre-Yves Jeholet on economy and work; Jean-Luc Crucke on budget and finance; and Valérie De Bue on local authorities. Coalition partner cdH delegates three ministers: Alda Greoli on health; Carlo Di Antonio on environment; and René Collin on agriculture. This Walloon Government is the first in almost 30 years without the socialist party PS.

Preparing the 2018 budget is the first point on the agenda for the government. Minister for Local Authorities De Bue presented draft circulars to help municipalities and provinces to get their ducks in a row. Municipalities must aim for fiscal stability, while strengthening the overall business environment and reducing “anti-economic” measures. Provinces are recommended to implement a budget freeze, allowing only downward fiscal reviews. This fits within the overall strategy to re-structure the provinces.

The plans to develop Wallonia’s economic potential and improves its image as a business-friendly region will be appreciated by the international business community. As shown in a recent CRiSP study, foreign groups create nearly one quarter of total employment in Wallonia, a number which is likely to increase if the new strategy is successful.

AmCham Belgium welcomes the new Walloon Government’s business-oriented approach, which should see the continuation of the positive measures taken by previous governments, such as the Marshall Plan for Wallonia. The Chamber looks forward to working closely together with the regional government to put Wallonia on the map for foreign investment.