You are currently viewing Bernard Clerfayt slams the door, the conclave is suspended: “It’s irresponsible”

Bernard Clerfayt slams the door, the conclave is suspended: “It’s irresponsible”

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:3 mins read

The Brussels government meeting in a budgetary conclave has suspended its work, we learned Friday afternoon from three sources close to it. In any case, the discussion will not resume on Friday. The suspension took place de facto after the departure of the Minister for Employment, Bernard Clerfayt (DeFI), during an exchange concerning service vouchers, and several ministers, including Sven Gatz (Open Vld), Brussels Minister for Budget, in particular.

While the discussions focused on the budget and the amounts allocated to service vouchers, the acting mayor of Schaerbeek got up and left the room. Without coming back.

This departure surprised his partners, who thought to give birth to an agreement at the end of the day. No date for the resumption of discussions has yet been set.

“Some government partners would like us to save 30 million euros in the service voucher policy. However, this will undermine 1,500 jobs in Brussels, jobs that are often unskilled and many of which are occupied by women. For us, it is out of the question to touch employment in service vouchers”assures us the spokesperson for Bernard Clerfayt.

According to our information, the provisional budget for 2023 was however the same as the previous one. Indexation will, however, increase expenditures. A member of the government believes, however, that despite the indexation, this budget would have held up, considering that Bernard Clerfayt’s reform should make it possible to reduce spending and that the crisis will lead to a drop in requests. “And at worst, if there are gaps in the budget, we will fill the needs automatically. It’s purely technical”tells us a well-informed source.

A point of view that does not share Bernard Clerfayt who, it is an open secret, also maintains complicated working relationships with several members of the government.

Civil service rationalization measures deemed insufficient

Another sticking point is mentioned as the cause of the minister’s departure. Bernard Clerfayt judges that the rationalization measures presented by Sven Gatz and Minister-President Rudi Vervoort in the Optiris dossier are insufficient. This project should make it possible to rationalize the regional civil service.

Savings were put on the table but the efforts were considered too timid and not very concrete.

Alain Maron (Ecolo), Brussels Minister for the Environment, protests against the behavior of his colleague. “This departure is irresponsible, because we are discussing aid and support measures for the energy crisis. But it’s all stuck! People expect results. Our objective and our responsibility is to succeed. People expect us and they are right. But we will succeed in the next few days”.

In particular, the government had to validate the rent indexation project according to the PEB.