Economy & Politics

Belgium is still waiting for its 91 million euros

If, at the end of October, an agreement seemed close for the payment, by Luxembourg, of an envelope of 91.1 million euros to the Belgian border municipalities, the situation appears to be blocked again. The fault of the exchanges still in progress on the 2019 statement.

Jean-Michel HENNEBERT

Jean-Michel HENNEBERT

If, at the end of October, an agreement seemed close for the payment, by Luxembourg, of an envelope of 91.1 million euros to the Belgian border municipalities, the situation appears to be blocked again. The fault of the exchanges still in progress on the 2019 statement.

The Belgian border municipalities will still have to wait before receiving part of the tax compensation from Luxembourg. Blame it on the lack of agreement on “the final count for 2019”, according to the laconic words of Pierre Gramegna (DP), in a parliamentary response published Tuesday.


In accordance with an agreement between the two countries, the Grand Duchy must pay tax compensation to its Belgian neighbor which could amount to some 91.1 million euros this year. But if the payment is usually made by the end of March at the latest, it has not yet been made.


Taking up the argument used in the summer, the Minister of Finance affirms that “as soon as the final account has been approved by the two ministers, payment can be made”. Without however advancing the slightest timetable, then, usually, the payment of funds dedicated to compensate for the difference in taxation on either side of the border is done in March.

This response was all the more surprising given that Vincent Van Peteghem (CD&V), new Federal Minister of Finance, assured at the end of October that the discussions were “on track”. And that everything was done “so that the agreement is signed quickly” so that “the border municipalities can receive this financial compensation to which they are entitled”.


13.9. Belgium / Frontier Post Sterpenich Foto: Guy Jallay

The health crisis coupled with the (very) slow formation of a Belgian federal government considerably delayed the case. Vincent Van Peteghem, the new Minister of Finance, however wishes to reassure the municipalities concerned about the upcoming signing of an agreement.


According to Belgian estimates, the border municipalities should be divided up no less than 91.1 million euros, under the rules of the Belgian-Luxembourg Economic Union which provide for the levy of excise duties jointly. A levy that works against the Belgian border municipalities, since applying higher rates and excise than those of their Grand-Ducal counterparts.

A financial buoy considered essential by the Belgian mayors. At the end of October, the deputy and mayor of Attert, Josy Arens (cdH), estimated that “without this endowment our municipal management will be quite simply impossible”. A call that has gone unheeded to this day.


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