In 2019, the consolidated debt of the Flemish Authorities was almost 18.6 billion euros, measured according to the definitions of the Institute of National Accounts (INA). The calculation of the consolidated debt according to the INA concept is used to reflect the long-term evolution and for interregional and European comparisons.
The INA debt decreased from 13.5 billion euros in 1996 to 6.7 billion in 2007, but increased as a result of the ESA 2010 rules (which were applied retroactively) and the sixth state reform to 14.6 billion euros in 2009 and to 18.6 billion euros in 2019.
Since 2014, the Department of Finance and Budget of the Flemish Authorities (FB-FA) uses a broader FB-FA concept for its own debt management , with some corrections to the INA concept. According to the broader FB-FA concept, the consolidated gross debt of the Flemish Authorities was just over 24.1 billion euros in 2019.
The FB-FA debt increased sharply in 2016 because the debt relating to the funding of hospital infrastructure (almost 5 billion euros) was transferred from the federal government to the regions as a consequence of the sixth State reform. In 2017, debt slightly decreased, but it increased again in 2018. In 2019 total debt remained stable in comparison with 2018.
In 2019, the consolidated debt of the Flemish Authorities was almost 18.6 billion euros, measured according to the definitions of the Institute of National Accounts (INA). The debt of the Walloon government (French Community and Walloon Region) was 31 billion euros. The debt of the Brussels-Capital Region stood at 5.5 billion euros and the debt of the other regional and interregional public authorities at 5.8 billion euros.
Between 1995 and 2019, the contribution of the Flemish government increased by 47%. After an almost continuous decrease between 2003 and 2007, a sharp increase followed in 2009 and a further increase to 18,708 million euros in 2016. In 2017, the contribution of the Flemish government to the total Belgian debt decreased again, but increased slightly again in 2018 and 2019 .
The contribution of the Walloon government increased by 202% in the period 1995-2019. The contribution of the interregional government agencies increased very sharply in 2016 due to the debt of the hospital infrastructure. Because the distribution of that debt among the various sub-entities is not yet known, the INA reports this to the interregional units.
In 2019, the Flemish municipal authorities together had a consolidated debt of almost 6.7 billion euros.
Between 2003 and 2019 the debt decreased by 14%. In 2003, the debt was almost 7.7 billion euros and remained fairly stable until 2007. In 2008 there was a decrease to 7.1 billion euros, but the debt then increased to 8 billion in 2013. From 2014, debt decreased again until 2018, followed by a slight increase in 2019.
There are large differences in the size and evolution of debt of the local authorities other as compared to the municipal authorities.
The debt of the Public Social Welfare Centers (PCSW) was the largest in 2019: 1,7 billion euros. Between 2014 and 2019 their debt decreased by 460 million euros (-25%).
In 2019, the autonomous municipal companies (AMC) had a debt of 1.4 billion euros. From 2014, their debt increased by 672 million euros (+92%).
The PCSW associations had a debt of 682 million euros in 2019, compared to 624 million in 2018. Between 2014 and 2019, their debt increased by 672 million euros (+92%). The impact of the phased entry into the policy and management cycle (BBC) plays a role here, as a result of which some PCSW associations only reported figures from 2015 onwards. The increase in the number of associations in recent years also plays a role.
The debt of the provincial authorities decreased from 598 million euros in 2014 to 387 million in 2019 (-35%).
In 2019, the autonomous provincial companies (APC) had a debt of 22 million euros, compared to 10 million euros in 2016. In 2015, debt amounted to an exceptional 93 million euros.
The consolidated debt of the municipal authorities per inhabitant varies considerably from one municipality to another.
In 81 municipalities (including the center city Turnhout), the debt was lower than 500 euros per inhabitant in 2019. 10 municipalities had no debts: As, Baarle-Hertog, Dentergem, Drogenbos, Hamont-Achel, Herstappe, Horebeke, Kasterlee, Ravels and Vorselaar. In 20 municipalities, the debt amounted to 1 to 200 euros per inhabitant and in 51 municipalities 201 to 500 euros.
In 107 municipalities (including center cities Antwerp and Bruges) the debt was between 500 and 1,000 euros per inhabitant in 2019, in 70 municipalities (including center cities Leuven, Aalst and Sint-Niklaas) between 1,000 and 1,500 euros and in 26 municipalities (including center cities Hasselt, Roeselare, Genk and Ostend) between 1,500 and 2,000 euros.
The debt amounted to more than 2,000 euros per inhabitant in 16 municipalities (including center cities Kortrijk, Ghent and Mechelen. The debt was higher than 3,000 euros per inhabitant in Wielsbeke (3,103 euros), Mechelen (3,469 euros) and Koksijde (3,691 euros).
Consolidated debt: the sum of the financial debts (and in exceptional cases also the other debts) of all entities in the consolidation scope of the Flemish Authorities. The consolidation scope indicates which group of entities are included in the calculation of the consolidated budget, balance (including debt) and annual financial statement. Two concepts for consolidated debt are used: the INA concept and the FB-FA concept.
INA Concept: concept of the Institute for National Accounts (INA) (Flemish Community - Contribution to the consolidated ‘Maastricht’ gross debt) that is used for showing the evolution during the 2004-2018 period at national level and European comparisons.
FB-FA Concept: wider concept of the Department of Finance and Budget of the Flemish Authorities (FB-FA), in which some corrections are made to the INA debt. The most important correction is the inclusion of the debt relating to the funding of hospitals which, since 2016, has been borne by the Flemish budget and which the INA reports to the inter-regional units since its breakdown over the various communities and regions has not yet been determined. However, the Department of Finance and Budget does not want to underestimate the Flemish debt and therefore reports a provisional figure according to its own calculations.