Belgium – Officially A Fiscal Hell

Belgium – Crucify the Middle Class

On Saturday I was enjoying lunch with my son and came across an excellent piece in TRENDS, the Flemish magazine.

I had long suspected I was being crucified each month by the taxman. The amount I earn working 60 hours a week over 50% gets gobbled up in taxes. Indeed, if I were on the dole, I’d not be that much worse off. At least I know I am officially being crucified each month. And, if you are curious, I’d not recommend the feeling.

You can read it in Dutch here or you can read the google translated version below.


Belgium indeed tax Hell
Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 8:28
For numerous taxes Belgium in Europe medalist, or cycle at least in the group of European. Now back billions to be found, it will not change soon.SEE ALSO
Opinion: Triple exodus
“Rich Belgians pulling away by palaver about wealth tax ‘
The Eurostat figures leave little doubt: Belgium is rather a tax hell than a tax haven. For overall tax burden in relation to GDP brings Belgium to 43.9 percent of GDP a European bronze medal. Only Denmark (47.6%) and Sweden (45.8%) have a higher tax burden.

The federal government should soon be looking for at least 4.6 billion euros. The risk of a higher tax burden is large because the PS has won for additional taxes. Open VLD is radically opposed, like the employers.

Another round tax is detrimental to the purchasing power and competitiveness, and hampers economic growth, says the employers’ organization in the Voka. CEO Jo Libeer pulled last week, a shocking figure above: the Belgian companies pay 47 percent of their value to the state.

Yet it seems that balancing the budget for 2013 a combination of lower spending and taxes extra. An analysis of our tax system yet clear how heavy the toll is imposed by the government.

Burden on labor: silver

About one thing there is consensus: there is no money to get out of even higher taxes on labor. Belgium stands with labor amounting to 23.8 percent of GDP in fourth place in Europe. The implicit tax rate on labor _ that is the total tax on labor divided by the total amounts of wages _ 42.5 percent. Belgium obtains a silver medal, after Italy.

Taxes on capital: koppeloton

When the PS is told that a wealth tax is not a bad idea because capital is taxed only here. It is not. Belgium already has several capital taxes such as interest on savings accounts, and dividends are taxed at 25 percent. There is the additional contribution of 4 percent on income from movable property above 20,020 euros. The property tax on the property is a tax on capital.

Eurostat puts Belgium whatsoever in sixth place for taxes on capital. The implicit tax rate on capital is 29.5 percent, which is a large behind leaders France (37.2%).

Charges on consumption: the back of the pack

Can the burden not be shifted to consumption taxes? That share is in Belgium 24.7 percent of the total, along with France and Italy the lowest in Europe. It is true that the standard VAT rate of 21 percent is already high compared to neighboring countries. But the basis of the tax is small. There are plenty of reduced VAT rates (as of 6 percent), and certain activities are exempt from VAT. A solution could be to broaden the tax base by abolishing a number of exclusions. The additional VAT revenue would allow the burden on labor. The effect of the VAT increase would not be in the automatic wage indexation be implemented.

Environmental impact: tail of the pack

Maybe there is room for the environmental taxes to raise? In Belgium amounts to only 2.1 percent of GDP, which we number 22 in the EU ranking. In the Netherlands and Denmark the environmental taxes to 4 percent of GDP. One problem with environmental taxes is that they somehow be shifted to other actors. Companies can environmental taxes in their prices and count as the end user pays the piper. (AM)

267 Boats Get To Fish in Foreign Waters – All At Taxpayers’ Expense

The EU pays a few fishermen to go and fish in foreign waters. A lot of money  seems to go to around 267 boats.  They appear to get a lot of money to allow them to fish. But, the European Commission seems very shy about letting me know the names of these boats, where they come from., and how much subsidies they come from.

Hidden Agenda

I have been interested to find out who the EU is allowing to do this. It is not published. I asked the European Commission for this information. They don’t want me to know.

Spain and France – Corporate Welfare Queens

From the information I can gleam, it looks like a lot of this fleet has been built up and is maintained by subsidies from taxpayers. It seems most of the boats are from France and Spain.

Franz Kafka’s Is Alive

The Commission know the names of the boats. They know how much money they get and have been bankrolled in the past. They know where they are based.  They just don’t want taxpayers to know.

Who Wins From This?

My bet would be that most of these super vessels are based in the regions of Carmen Fraga and Alain Cadec MEP.  I guess it would be difficult to explain to hard pressed working families in Valencia who can’t even get access to life saving medicines that their governments continue to bankroll a long distant fishing fleet of super vessels. It would be hard for German MEPs like Werner Kuhn to explain to his voters why a a few rich fishermen have got tens of millions – and probably hundreds of millions – of subsidies to fish in west africa’s waters. It would be hard for UK Conservative MEPs to explain why they voted to keep subsidies flowing to this industry.


Request and Answer Below

Dear Mr McLoughlin,


Thank you for your e-mail dated 12/09/2012, requesting access to information/document under Regulation No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.


Please find below all requested information:


The Council Regulation 1006/2008 laid down in Art.17 provisions on access to data concerning fishing authorisations that have been submitted to the Commission.

These data shall be made available on a secure website for all users which are authorised by

  • the Member States,
  • the Commission or a body designated by the Commission, concerning control and inspection.

The data accessible to these persons shall be limited to the data they need in the framework of their fishing authorisation process and/or their inspection activities and shall be subject to the rules on data confidentiality.


Following the above provisions, the Commission is not in a position to provide information on fishing authorisations under FPA’s in third country waters to other parties or persons.


However, the Commission can release the following information on the number of EU vessels that are currently authorised to fish under each EU fishing partnership agreement, some of the fishing vessels being entitled to fish under several FPAs at the same time to ensure a continuity of their fishing activities based on highly migratory stocks.


  • EU/Cap Verde:                         60 EU vessels
  • EU/Comores:                            22 EU vessels
  • EU/Ivory Coast:                        21 EU vessels
  • EU/Greenland:                          25 EU vessels
  • EU/Madagascar:                       57 EU vessels
  • EU/Mozambique:                      36 EU vesels
  • EU/São Tome y Principe:          26 EU vessels
  • EU/Seychelles:                         20 EU vessels


With the exception of the Agreement signed with Greenland, all of FPAs currently in application are tuna FPAs.

In such a context, most of the vessels authorized to fish in third country waters, where a tuna FPA is in place, are nevertheless registered in dedicated databases, like these ones made publically available by




  • IOTC:


Other tuna RFMOs, like WCPFC, IATTC or CCSBT, also have publically available fleet registers.


With regard to the question of the EU contributions related to FPAs and granted to third countries, data, information (distinguishing between the amount directly linked to fishing possibilities and the amount earmarked for development of the third country fishing sector or fisheries policy) and legal basis are made available on the DG-Mare website, using the following link:



With reference to the question of subsidies, it is essential to remind that no subsidies are granted to EU fishing vessels through FPAs. Vessel owners have to pay access fees, generally divided into two parts, an advance paid previous to the delivery of the fishing authorization and a sorting out part based on the catches made by the fishing vessel in third country waters. The level of these fees are agreed among both parties, the European Union and the third country, and are fixed in protocols associated to the Fisheries Partnership Agreements. All these data are made publically available in the legal texts published on the EUR-Lex website :


Best regards.







Telephone0472 94 83 17
Requested documentSubject: Request for Access to Information – EU Vessels Who Fish Under the EU’s Fishing Partnership Agreements Could you please inform me: · How many EU vessels fish under each EU fishing partnership agreement · How much each vessel received in EU and member state subsidies; or the total amount of subsidies provided for the group of vessels fishing under each agreement. · The annual cost for each separate fishing partnership agreement · If possible, could you identify the vessel number of each vessels fishing under fishing partnership agreements and how much the EU taxpayer has given them How many vessels from EU member states fishing in third country waters under bi-lateral fishing agreements. As recently as 1996, DG MARE had a database with this information on.
General Directorate (DG) in chargeDG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
Language requesteden
Language by defaulten
Date of request12-09-2012
Form languageen

Making A Buck – Crony Capitalism

How To Predict Share Price Performance – Read the Bills

I just read an  excellent piece on crony capitalism or how laws directly influence share prices.

Whilst it seems obvious, the study shows how this is done, and how you can choose (legally) the shares that will go up.

It shows you a smart clipper strategy to find the cones.

I am curious if reading the Commission’s legislative proposals and Official Journal will have show the same relationship. I’ll let you know if they do.

You can read the article here and the study here.

Cash will do nicely, Silvio

Freedom Against Tyranny – The Economist

The Economist, the magazine of the classical liberal vanguard, has fought an open war with Silvio Berlusconi.

This is a brave thing to do. This is a man who became very rich, has very powerful friends, and is open about his links to to P2 Masonic lodge who were linked to the bombing of  Bologna‘s railway station killing 85 people.

Economist 2 – Berlusonin 0

Mr Berlussoni sued The Economist for libel. He lost. The Economist challenged him on many fronts, asked where he got his funds to start in business, questioned the potential conflict of interest with his business dealings and his role as PM. The Italian courts found the Economist had no case to the answer.

Of course, the real tragedy is that Italy felt compelled to elect and re-elect him. Only the threat of bankrupting the country (well it seems it is bankrupt already) and the utter contempt Europe’s other leaders appeared to have for him, that Italy had a technocratic elite government imposed on them.

Gaddafi & Mugabe – Economic Partners

The real tragedy is that during his rule, Italy had lower economic growth rates that all countries, except Libya and Zimbabwe, also run by slightly crackpot dictators.

That the Italian and Libyan leaders were close friends with closer business connections is openly known. The Libyan crackpot dictators departure must be a great loss for Berlusconi, family and his friends.

You can read the story here.