In its New Year Letter, Itinera presents its ten wishes for 2016. With contributions of Leo Neels, Ivan Van de Cloot, Marc De Vos, Bilal Benyaich, Johan Albrecht, Jean Hindriks, Alexandre Simons en Simon Ghiotto
Dramatic events in Paris should be a wake-up call for Brussels - Interview ABC News
Belgium's Prime Minister has admitted that authorities have lost control of Brussels suburb of Molenbeek. Senior Fellow at the Itinera Institute, Bilal Benyaich says extremists there are a minority, but a visible one.
Marc De Vos gives an overview of European experience in rendering dismissal more ‘active’ by promoting job-to-job transitions. While this requires a budget, Belgium has budgetary space in the traditionally ‘passive’ component of dismissal compensation.
A hail of statistics and forecasts from the IMF and the European Central Bank (ECB) is confronting us with an undeniable truth – the economy is not recovering fast enough. Growth rates, though positive, are mediocre. And the main indicator of economic recovery, namely anticipatory purchases and investments, i.e. inflation, has been revised downwards, despite the enormous injections of liquidity provided in Europe by the ECB.
The real challenge over the next few years will be to avoid the shipwreck of the eurozone economy in what is often called a Japanese-style deflationary scenario - but with the Chinese slow-down feeding into it. This scenario is looking more and more plausible as prices have been stagnating for two years now and the inflation rate remains desperately low. Technically, of course, this could be described as disinflation rather than deflation - or as tendentially low inflation, so as not to stigmatise a generalised fall in prices.
Marc De Vos sees the distinction between independent and subordinate work behind the debate of wage cost reduction. He looks ahead to the future of the sharing economy where the internet risks eliminating this age-old division of labour.
Marc De Vos nuances the adjusted projections for ageing costs in pensions. Behind the lower figures stands not a pension miracle but a career miracle. To be able to make the miracle happen, a mobilization for job creation is needed.
The creation of the euro was a purely political decision. There is nothing surprising about that - subjecting a population to a currency is a regalian right. In any case, a currency has to be backed by pledges of confidence that only the State can provide
How healthy is mental health care in Belgium? The facts behind the myths
In the report “How healthy is mental health care in Belgium?” Itinera charts the deficiencies of mental health care. Mental illnesses are the primary cause of invalidity in Belgium, 27% of long term absenteeism is related to mental issues and life expectancy of psychiatric patients is on average 15 year shorter.
Is the European Commission too critical on Belgian fiscal policy?
Belgium didn’t show a lot of fiscal discipline in the good economic times. Since 2009 our country belongs to countries in the excessive deficit procedure with a strict surveillance of the European Commission. The nonsensical debate about austerity should be overcome. Unchanged policy is in any case no option. Rather than searching for the Holy Grail of the « critical’ » debt level one should approach things more from the perspective of risk management.