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Maciamo
27-12-05, 19:19
I have just heard on TV that compared to the system in other EU countries, Belgium has 30,000 civil servants too many, which cost the state (and thus tax payers) 6% of the GDP. Furthermore, billions of euro are wasted each year in petrol due to traffic jams (esp. in Brussels). Nevertheless, it is estimated that 200,000 jobs should be created to maintain the current social security system. Needless to say that reforms of the state are becoming increasingly urgent.

nurizeko
04-03-06, 11:42
inefficient civil sectors seem to be the norm across western europe.

Maciamo
05-01-08, 18:44
In my thread about Reverse Culture Shock (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17667) I had mentioned a few things about the poor service and general business inefficiency in Belgium. Here is another example (http://www.economist.com/world/europe/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10430246) of irritating restrictions of business freedom.

Hundreds of government officials are paid to check that all shops in Belgium do not advertise early sales or even discounts for 6 weeks prior to the "official sales period". When I hear this I wonder which has become the most state-controlled economy of Belgium or communist China... :sigh:

What is more, shops are obliged by law to close at latest at 8pm, except night shops, which cannot open during most of the day - and yet this is only a recent allowance, as there used to be no night shops in Belgium.

As if it wasn't enough, the Belgian government prohibits multiple-buy discounts of more than 33% (all year round, except during the sales) as well as selling articles at a loss to attract customers ("loss-leaders"). Some goods also do not qualify for seasonal sales, like antiques, and thus can never be discounted. But nobody prevents the shopkeeper from lowering the price, without mentioning it is a discount, of course, which makes the whole system even more ridiculous.

If they wanted to make complete sense, they should either ban all advertisment and have the government set "official prices" for everything, like in a truly communist country, or let everything go, like in a truly liberal country. Just remember what should be Belgium (or France)'s motto : why make things simple when you can make them complicated !