The planning office has just released its annual forecasts, i.e. inflation of 9.4% for 2022. What effect will this have on Belgians? The first, unfortunately, is that the increase in the cost of living will continue for very long months. According to the forecasts of the Bureau of the plan, a strong inflation which extends over the next two years. First in 2022, as we know, an increase in the cost of living of 9.4%. And then in 2023, with inflation of 6.5%. This means that high inflation will lead to an increase in the health index, an increase in the pivot index and this is the one that leads to indexation of wages and social allowances.
Still according to the Bureau du Plan, there will be 4 overruns of this pivot index in the coming months, which is very rare! An increase is expected from October and December in 2022. And then, another increase very quickly, from 2023 in February and July. This means that for some, in particular civil servants and social recipients, there will be an increase in wages and income from November. For others, it will depend on the joint commissions. This could take place from the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023. These successive increases are unheard of for more than 40 years.
Where does our country stand compared to other European countries?
According to the latest figures, the European average cost of living inflation in 2022 is around 9.1%. Belgium therefore experiences higher inflation than the average of the 27 European countries. Please note, this does not mean that Belgium is in an extremely catastrophic situation compared to others which are in an even more dramatic situation. In some Eastern European countries, notably Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, it is more than 22% increase in the cost of living.
For our neighboring countries, the situation is also difficult, especially in the Netherlands with a 13.6% increase. And in France, it’s 6.5% inflation in 2022. It’s the lowest in the euro zone. Why ? This is explained by a slightly more incentive policy on the part of the French government, a reduction in gas and electricity prices, incentives at the pump.