Belgium - National Reform programme 2022
The National Reform Program (NRP) reflects the most important structural reforms of the past year and action plans of the regions and communities for the coming years. The NRP complements the fiscal measures included in the Belgian Stability Programme 2022-2025 and builds on the priorities of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).
The NRP is structured in 6 chapters. Chapter 3 gives an overview of the most important reforms and investments of the different governments in the following areas:
- budget/public debt;
- labour market, training and education;
- entrepreneurship, innovation, competition and digitalisation;
- energy, mobility, and sustainability;
- social protection and inclusion.
The various governments in this country have the shared ambition of achieving an employment rate of 80%, and they are very much inspired by the European pillar of social rights. Thus, in response to structural challenges in the labour market, the federal government has adopted a labour market reform that aims to improve the training and skills of workers, allow a better reconciliation of private and professional life, provide a better framework for new forms of work and contribute to raising the employment rate to 80% by 2030.
Education and training
Strengthening digital skills remains a key objective for all communities and regions. All governments adopted the Women in Digital National and Intersectoral Strategy 2021-2026 with the aim of providing a coherent strategy to foster coordination and synergy among the various initiatives taken to promote women in STEM/ICT at all policy levels in our country.
As part of the Walloon recovery plan, a financing package for basic training in digital skills was approved. The objective is to increase the number of training hours, to introduce a uniform teaching method throughout Wallonia, to establish a link with public employment services and to provide more stable and generous funding for the structures that provide this training. In addition, the roll‐out of digital learning methods in alternate education will be strengthened.
Flemish government is giving adult education a boost with a strategic plan. The Flemish government is allocating 60 million euros to eliminate the negative effects of the coronavirus crisis in adult education and to make structural adjustments. The main elements of the plan are strengthening digital competences, tackling unqualified outflow and enhancing labour market opportunities.
The STEM Agenda 2030 aims for a higher intake in STEM courses and careers, STEM specialists and the general strengthening of STEM competences in society at large. In addition, with Digisprong, the government aims to make up for lost time in the digitisation of learning and teaching in compulsory education. The ambition of this plan is to strengthen the digital competences of all learners, from primary school children to adults.
The German‐speaking Community is starting a radical reform of technical and vocational education. More and more young people are failing in technical secondary education or in dual education, often due to a combination of factors or personal problems. At the same time, companies and employers in the German‐speaking Community are facing a shortage of skilled workers and many apprenticeship positions remain unfilled every year.
The structural reform is aimed at bringing together dual education and technical and vocational secondary education and at finding tailor‐made and effective solutions for young people, whether they follow a pure school pathway, a work‐related training pathway or a mixed pathway. Young people should be able to change their learning system without negative consequences. The first reforms will be implemented between March 2022 and November 2023, and a first interim evaluation with recommendations will be available by the end of 2023.
The federal support measures amounted to 15.2 billion euros in 2020 and are decreasing gradually to EUR 0.7 billion in 2025.
For the period 2021–2027, Belgium will receive a budget of 2,320.4 million euros in European co‐financing under the Investment for Jobs and Growth objective and 182.6 million euros under the Just Transition Fund.
The final responsibility for the NRP lies with the Government. The elaboration of the NRP is the result of an intensive and fruitful cooperation between the federal government and the regional and community governments. The final NRP is approved by the different governments. This consultation takes place within a Policy Monitoring Committee set up for that purpose and also within the Consultative Committee between the different authorities.