GlobalBetween the administration and the executives, nothing is going well anymore

Between the administration and the executives, nothing is going well anymore

When in 2003, the Minister of Finance at the time, Didier Reynders, took to the barricades with his famous verve to deny the tax administration’s alleged desire to tax company cars more – yes, the subject was already debated at the time – it brought to light a well-known problem in Belgium: the mistrust between the administration and the political world. In recent days, several news stories and outings from entrepreneurs, including that of the new boss of the Walloon Business Union, have brought it back to the forefront. Cecile Neven, in the columns of the Echo, explained this weekend that what was lacking in a good entrepreneurial climate was “coherence. The coherence of public action and an administration that is a partner”. In our columns this time, we revealed a few weeks ago the astronomical amounts spent by firms that are nevertheless bloated in consultancy costs in the Brussels Region. Still in our columns, this weekend, Jean-Luc Crucke, who was… Walloon Budget Minister in a well-stocked cabinet, estimates possible a reduction in public spending of around 10 billion, mentioning in particular these ministerial cabinets too full in these times of budget scarcity. It’s true that we can no longer afford to pay dearly for an administration that politicians use less and less. We will be told that people have been talking about these downsizing in offices for so long that it is necessarily wishful thinking. Except that the chaotic relations between ministers and their administration cannot continue, firstly because the needs of the population – service to citizens – are colossal (transport, mobility, administration, etc.) while Belgium has one of the highest public spending rates in Europe. Then, because the decisions taken by ministers are sometimes acted upon differently in the administration. This is particularly true at the tax level, where no one understands the system in which we find ourselves. Finally, in terms of management, executives cannot leave entire sections of their administration in the lurch or abandoned without lasting demotivation of the troops. Faced with the challenges that await us (budgetary, aging, digital and climate transitions), our country needs all its strengths. We are therefore urgently looking for unifiers…

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