Belgian Government Reaches Accord on 2016 Budget, Tax Shift

The Belgian government agreed on a budget for 2016 and implementation of the tax shift, Prime Minister Charles Michel said.

Under the agreement, concluded Saturday morning, the tax burden on companies will be reduced and workers’ take-home pay increased, Michel told a press conference in Brussels. By 2019, half of Belgian workers will see an average net gain of 100 euros ($1.14) a month, according to Belga news agency.

The agreement also provides for a “speculation tax” on investors who sell shares within six months of purchase. This 33 percent capital-gains levy is estimated to bring in 34 million euros, L’Echo reported.

Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt told reporters that the ``budget deficit remains within the limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product.'' The budget is to be submitted to the European Commission this week.

Tens of thousands of Belgian workers marched through downtown Brussels on Wednesday to protest the austerity measures being pushed by the Michel government, according to Belga. Police said 80,000 people joined the demonstration in the Belgian capital.

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