Purple-green agreement: there’s no lack of new taxes, but there’s a lack of ambitious reforms

30 September 2020
Bart De Wever

The N-VA considers it indefensible that in these extremely precarious times, this country will be federally governed by a purple-green government without a democratic majority on the Flemish side. If this government completes its term, this country will have been governed without the full participation of the Flemish for no fewer than 12 years since 2008. This is a downright insulting signal to the region that keeps this country economically viable.

In addition to the composition of the government, the content of the coalition agreement is also diametrically opposed to the Flemish election result of May 2019. The agreement on the table is very similar to the Magnette memorandum that came out at the end of last year. We don’t fully understand why some liberals rejected that memorandum then and are going to lead this government themselves now - with guidelines that are substantively almost identical.

A host of new taxes

For example, the purple-green coalition agreement already provides for an initial host of new taxes, including a digitax, a minimum tax for companies and a Wealth tax A direct tax levied on capital, regardless of the profits that you gain from it. While capital in the past mainly concerned real estate, it is primarily made up of shares and bonds today. The disadvantage of such a tax is the mobility of capital, which leads to tax tourism. Additionally, these profits will have already been taxed. This is the reason why cost-benefit analyses of wealth tax are often contested, by the N-VA as well. wealth tax . Moreover, tax increases of between 3.2 and 6.4 billion euros are on the horizon through the distribution key used to achieve the budgetary targets.

Break with so-called Swedish policy

It is also unfavourable for our economy that on some vital points, there will be a definitive break with the socio-economic policy of the so-called Swedish coalition, which led to more than 200,000 additional private jobs, and that no extra efforts are being made to reduce the tax burden further. The purple-yellow agreement that was negotiated this summer between the N-VA and the PS did however provide both for protection of the so-called Swedish legacy and for a significant direct tax reduction.

Unrealistic climate and energy policy

Furthermore, the planned climate and energy policy is of particular concern. That component seems to have been copied without a moment’s thought from the unrealistic programmes of Groen and Ecolo. The irrational ambition to phase out nuclear energy as soon as possible, for example, threatens to cost us billions of euros which, ironically enough, will lead to more CO2 in our air.

Illegal migration rewarded

The proposed relaxations in the area of migration also signify a reversal of the direction taken under the so-called Swedish policy. Illegal migration will be facilitated and even rewarded by the proposed policy measures. We suspect that voters of some of the parties taking part in this government are more likely to be in favour of the stricter rules and structural solutions for illegal migration that were included in the purple-yellow summer memo.

Institutional talking shop that does not rule out re-federalisation

Finally, the institutional component also consists of no more than a few empty phrases. Instead of preparing the confederal change and already partly translating it into policy - as in the agreement between N-VA and PS - necessary institutional reforms are parked in a kind of long-term talking shop, which, moreover, does not rule out re-federalisation. It is unacceptable to the N-VA that people are considering bringing more policy back to the level that was so often blocked in recent years.

The image of a left-wing deferral cabinet remains. The N-VA considers it incomprehensible that certain parties have thwarted a much better and more stable agreement for Flanders and this country this summer and that they are now committing themselves - against the interests of their own voters - to this version that is uninspiring and in some areas even damaging. The N-VA will do everything we can from our political position during the coming legislature to protect the Flemish people as much as we can from the disastrous plans of this government. We will also be proactive and continue to present our own proposals to adjust the left-wing and anti-Flemish direction set by this coalition agreement as much as possible.

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