Belgium has rejected a Franco/German plan to impose wide ranging economic changes on euro zone states.
Germany wants an end to inflation-linked wages, which is on the statute books in Belgium, and believes that it reduces the country’s ability to compete in global markets.
Didier Reynders, the Belgian Finance Minister, explained why he is opposed to that: “I can understand the process, especially from the German side, where there has been wage moderation for many years, but now Germany is approving salary hikes that are much higher than in Belgium. So let us deal with the reality. As for France – look at the numbers. I could talk about Spain or other countries. Let’s look at the numbers there. In Belgium we will end up with a deficit slightly below four percent of GDP.”
In response euronews journalist, Sergio Cantone pointed out to the minister that those who are protesting refuse to adhere to the German social model.
Reynders said: “They just don’t want tough wage restraints like they had in Germany over the last 10 years. I think we need to realise that if we want growth in the country we need to develop economic activity to improve the general well being in the country. Germany had a specific problem to deal with in the 80’s – reunification. So West Germany came to the aid of East Germany. We are not in this situation and therefore our concern is to say, you take economic decisions to create growth to benefit the whole population.”