The N-VA calls for the dismissal of Brussels Minister Sven Gatz for financial mismanagement

15 November 2021
Cieltje Van Achter

“It is time for Minister Gatz to take responsibility.” The N-VA group in the Brussels Parliament is submitting a motion on Monday requesting the resignation of Brussels Minister of Finance and Budget Sven Gatz.

Sven Gatz is under fire. After the Court of Audit published a damning report on the 2020 accounts of the Brussels-Capital Region in late October, its report on the 2021 and 2022 budgets was also published late last week. The Court of Audit notes the late reporting, the mounting debt and the lack of transparency, among other things, regarding hundreds of millions of euros in COVID-related expenditure.

Lack of transparency regarding EUR 700 million

Budget talks start this week in the Brussels-Capital Parliament. As every year, these discussions start with a hearing with the Court of Audit on their analysis of the budget. At the end of last week, the Brussels MPs already received the Court of Audit’s written report. That report is quite harsh. For example, the Court of Audit criticised the lack of transparency regarding some EUR 700 million of COVID-related support and recovery measures in the 2021 budget. The Court of Audit cannot determine from the budget of 2022 whether the EUR 93.1 million in European recovery aid will actually flow towards the promised recovery measures.

Brussels debt increases year after year

The Court of Audit also reiterates its annual criticism of the Brussels government’s decision to exclude up to half a billion euros in expenditure from the budgetary target. For example, according to the Court of Audit, almost EUR 500 million in 2021 and EUR 400 million in 2022 will be wrongly neutralised. These expenditures cause the debt of the Brussels-Capital Region to increase year after year.

The Minister promises improvement every year, but hardly anything comes of it

“Trop is too much and too much is trop,” responds Cieltje Van Achter, N-VA party leader in the Brussels-Capital Parliament. “A few weeks ago, the Court of Audit published its 26th Brussels Report. We saw the same criticism in it as in the previous Brussels reports. Several Brussels administrations grant company cars to their employees without a legal basis for doing so, hundreds of millions of euros in errors are recorded and reports to the Court of Auditors are systematically late or incomplete. We question the Minister about this every year, and every year he promises improvement. The 26th Brussels Report shows once again that hardly anything comes of it.”

Sven Gatz must take responsibility for amateurism and empty promises

According to Cieltje Van Achter, things are going from bad to worse. “The budget talks start today. The Court of Audit’s analysis of the 2021 and 2022 budgets once again shows that Brussels’ finances are not going at all as they should. It really cannot go on like this. We have had a liberal budget minister in Brussels for 22 years now. There is one damning report after another, and I hear those ministers say that improvement is on the way. I believe optimism is a moral imperative. But if amateurism and empty promises characterise the region’s financial policy, then you have to name that problem. It is time for Minister Gatz to take responsibility. Today we are submitting a motion requesting the Minister’s resignation and a review of the relevant administrations.”

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