Skip to comments.Belgium's Cabinet Gives Selves a 8% Raise After Agreeing to Take a 5% Pay Cut.
Posted on 01/08/2012 7:49:18 AM PST by JerseyHighlander
This is going to be a funny one...
On Dec 5 2011, Belgium after an 18 month crisis, finally had political parties agree to a coalition government. One of the agreements was to reduce the operating budget of the Cabinet by 5%. http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-05/belgium-s-di-rupo-to-take-office-after-18-month-political-ordeal
Today it was discovered that instead of reducing the salaries and expense accounts of the Cabinet Ministers and their staffs by 5% as agreed upon in the Coalition agreement, the Ministers axed 105 low level employees of their 932 total employees. Then the Ministers gave themselves on average a 8% pay raise for the year. http://www.demorgen.be/dm/nl/5036/Wetstraat/article/detail/1374850/2012/01/08/Ministers-kennen-zichzelf-acht-procent-meer-wedde-toe.dhtml#.TwlbNQWBUSY.facebook
As soon as this news was made public, the Ministers go into damage control mode today and start rolling back theirmoney grab with the expected lies in standard political CYA manuevers.
Belgian news outlets are jumping on this like a pack of ravenous wolves.
Vanackere denied salary increases for ministers 08/01/12, 8:02
According to Deputy Prime Minister Vanackere, the "salary increase" due to an error in a document from the Cabinet. © Belga DM UPDATE The federal ministers increase their weddes an average eight percent, although in their coalition agreement, a salary reduction of five percent have promised. The News on Sunday that message. Finance Minister Steven Vanackere denies the message.
The government put the new wage rates at the Ministerial Council of December 16. According to The News increased the salaries of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers of 224,000 to 248,000 euros a year, which the Ministers of 220,000 to 238,000 and those of the State Secretaries of 210,000 to 227,000. "As others have to lose weight, the Ministers not self-fatty, "says NV-A'er Ben Weyts in the newspaper. "Do at least what you expect of others." Weyts agrees that the ministerial cabinets insufficient weight loss. The total budget dropped from 56.7 to 55.2 million, but fewer ministers and state secretaries. The average per cabinet rises. "That is not true" Finance Minister Steven Vanackere denies that the salaries of federal government members this year would rise by an average of eight percent. "It is not. The agreed reduction of 5 percent remains", he stressed this morning through his spokesman. More clarification will follow as soon as possible, is then heard at the Cabinet of Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo. According to CD & V, the Deputy Prime Minister Vanackere indeed pay cut through. The eight percent of which there would be a mistake in the document, conscious of the Cabinet. (Belga / tw / cfu)
And he blatantly disregarded the intent and the plain language of the coalition government agreement.
Amusing story, not sure it's enough to have the Coalition Government fail since Ministers from both sides took the pay raises and fired their own loyalists to free up the funds.
I forgot my HTML
I found an English language report:
No pay rise for Belgian ministers after all
Sun 08/01/2012 - 10:57
Update: Sun 08/01/2012 - 12:17
Official documents had suggested that Belgian cabinet ministers and secretaries of state in the new Di Rupo Government were in line for an 8% pay rise in violation of the 5% cut as set out in the Coalition Agreement. The Government has meanwhile denied that ministers will get a pay rise and is insisting that the promised pay cut will be implemented.
Opposition Flemish nationalist lawmaker Ben Weyts had obtained a document that was drawn up by the Prime Minister’s chancellery using figures from the last government. The cabinet meeting document dated 16 December 2011 details an 8% pay increase for ministers and secretaries of state.
Spokesmen for Belgian Premier Elio Di Rupo (Francophone socialist) and Finance Minister Steven Vanackere (Flemish Christian democrat) have both confirmed that the salaries of ministers and secretaries of state will undergo a 5% cut. This will happen via an amendment to the document, but meanwhile the damage has been done in public perception.
An administrative error has been made in the document that Mr Weyts obtained.
The Coalition Agreement states: “Efforts are being asked of all citizens. It is quite logical that politicians too make a contribution. Ministers’ salaries will be cut by 5%.” Secretary of state Servais Verherstraten (Flemish Christian democrat) told VRT News that the political decision contained in the Coalition Accord will be implemented in full.
Speculation about a government U-turn follows Saturdays claims that the royal family’s grant hasn’t been frozen as stipulated by the Coalition Agreement.
The Flemish nationalist opposition remains incandescent. Ben Weyts: “This is too sordid.”
Mr Weyts also castigated the number of people working in ministers’ private offices: “There may be fewer offices, but staff numbers have gone up!”
This is typical of any Government or Business. Announce a cut back of expenses. Layoff so called unneeded personnel to accomplish cuts. Then give bonuses to Representatives or Executives.
Whether it be here or Belgium, politicians is politicians is politicians.....
You just don’t understand. They did take a pay cut. They were going to give themselves a 13% pay increase, and cut that to 8%. You just don’t understand liberals.
So the Europeans have learned “baseline budgetting”. I presume the cabinet was slated to get a raise of slightly over 13%, so actually only getting an 8% raise “is” a 5% “cut”.
(I leave it to someone more awake than I am, if anyone cares, to run the numbers to figure out exactly what putative raise a cut of 5% from would come out to an 8% increase.)