On 12 October, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo gave the yearly State of the Union address in the Federal Parliament, during which he outlined the government’s focus areas for the next year(s). De Croo touched upon various topics like the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Belgian economy as well as the key role the country has played in the development and production of vaccines.
Preparing for the aftermath of this world-wide crisis, the Prime Minister underlined the importance to invest strongly to modernize the Belgian economy through digitalization and making it more sustainable. In this light, De Croo announced that the government from this point until 2024 would invest €1 billion in digitalization and sustainability projects.
“We moeten niet alleen herstellen, onze economie moet ook verder vernieuwen, digitaler en duurzamer worden”
Regarding digitalization, Belgium aims mainly to focus on developing digital skills, artificial intelligence, cyber security and 5G. In addition, De Croo announced the country would start research on the development of 6G to provide fast connections ready for the future. In addition, the Prime Minister revealed that the various government services would take further steps in digitalization, making these services more accessible, trustworthy and less expensive.
Regarding sustainability, De Croo underlined that there are many opportunities to be found in the transition towards climate neutrality, with Belgian sustainable technologies potentially leading the way. In this light, the Prime Minister stressed that Belgium is already world-wide among the best performers when it comes to offshore energy production and announced that the government aims to double the wind energy production in the Nord Sea. In addition, Belgium will launch projects on solar panels at sea and invest in the development of hydrogen to make the country’s industry carbon neutral. In line with these investments, De Croo said that his government will further invest in transport by rail and improve access to maritime ports to decrease transport by road as much as possible.
“Nos technologies belges, elles, changeront le monde”
De Croo also highlighted that, more than ever, the government is convinced of the importance of European cooperation. He referred to the European joint procurement of corona vaccines as an excellent example. For him this was a proof that the EU today stands head and shoulders above the rest of the world. Equally, when looking at renewable energy and energy efficiency, the Prime Minister underlined that cooperation on EU level was key.
The Prime Minister also made a statement about the Brexit agreement and the troubles this had caused to the country. The brexiteers were wrong to refer to the European Union as the problem, the Prime Minister concluded.
“Europa is niet het probleem. Het is de oplossing. Omdat we samen sterk staan. L’union fait la force.”
The State of the Union by Alexander De Croo underlines the importance of acknowledging all the opportunities for green and digital initiatives and shows clearly that there is a lot of room for companies to either become more sustainable and digitally active themselves, or to provide new innovations to speed up the transitions. Dr2 Consultants is ready to provide further guidance in the Belgian plans to renew their economy.